Have you heard of teenager Randy Gardner, the famous Californian? No? He holds the world record for staying awake—he didn’t sleep for 11 days and 24 minutes. While it may sound cool, you should never put yourself through consistent sleep deprivation. Sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s not just a tool to help you relax. Or improve your mood. It helps your body in ways you never knew. In this article, I share 14 things you didn’t know about how what sleep does and therefore, how important it really is.
Randy Gardner didn’t suffer any long term health impact from his high school experiment. More recently, a 26 year-old man in China died from a stroke after 48 hours of no sleep. In today’s fast-paced world, everything is a profit-loss statement. The Ted Ed video below reveals that 30 of the American population is sleep deprived. That’s a lot of people that have sleep in the loss department.
Here are fourteen things you didn’t know about sleep.
The brain is never asleep
Your body might be asleep, but your brain isn’t. It is busy compiling the day’s work, stacking it all in memories. Your brain processes all the information. It saves the important ones in your hard-drive, while it deletes the unnecessary. Though you have no control over this activity, your role in it is vital as it all takes place while you’re asleep.
A nap a day keeps the doctor away
Sleep plays a vital role in your physical health as well. Your immune system is heavily dependent on it and it is your body’s first line of defense. It protects you from common infections. But a sleep deficiency can change the way it reacts.
- Do you want to maintain weight? Get a good nap
Ghrelin and leptin are hormones which regulate your appetite. A proper balance of these is essential for your body. Usually, your body strike will that balance itself. But a lack of sleep can disrupt that process. Researchers say that you should sleep for at least 7 hours. You are likely to be overweight if you don’t. Remember, a simple thing such as sleep can help you more than a gym.
Steer away from stressful problems
Your body needs enough rest, otherwise all your senses are put on a high alert. It results in the production of stress hormones. With stress comes high blood pressure. Your heart functions faster than normal, increasing the risk of heart attack. Stress also makes it tough to fall asleep. That again enhances the production of stress hormones. The problems keep rising exponentially. To avoid all this, you need a good nap.
While you sleep, your body produces melatonin, which fights against cancer
Melatonin is the hormone that protects you against cancer. It regulates the spread of tumors. Your body produces melatonin in the night. But, light exposures can hamper that process. Researchers believe that levels of melatonin deplete in people exposed to light at night. Be sure to sleep in a dark bedroom to reduce the risk of cancer.
You think you’re depressed?
Many chemicals in our body are influenced by sleep. Serotonin is one of them. Its deficiency leads to depression. Though, it can be easily prevented. All you need is to ensure you have an adequate sleep—around 8 hours a night.
Social life is equally important nowadays
Your sleeping habits have a greater impact on people around you than you think. Sleep deprivation is a huge factor for cranky mood. It also leads to unintentional anger. That’s why poor sleepers have a relatively poor social life—happiness and satisfaction are not their best traits, and it leads to frequent differences of opinion. A good sleep can help strengthen your relationships.
Who wouldn’t like to work productively?
Your brain is a vital part of your system, and sleep is the most essential ingredient to keep it healthy. Sleep controls the various aspects of your brain. Productivity and concentration are some of them. A lack of sleep negatively affects these qualities. On the other hand, a good sleep improves your problem-solving skills.
Lack of sleep increases the risk of diabetes
Many studies project a link between reduced sleep and diabetes. A lack of sleep affects blood sugar in your body and also reduces insulin sensitivity. Both these are symptoms of diabetes.
Don’t leave your life to luck
There is no direct connection between accidents and sleep. But, there is still a minute link. Sleep deficiency has adverse effects on your driving. It is similar to, or even more than being drunk. Tired and drowsy drivers are the most prone to road accidents. Driver sleepiness results in almost 1,500 deaths every year. In such cases, sleep deficiency can prove to be a cause for large-scale destruction.
Sleep affects your hunger sensations
Yes, exercise is important to burn calories, but sleep is also equally vital. When you sleep, your body still performs the process of repairs. It repairs the damaged cells and organs. It increases the enzyme activities. All these processes burn extra calories. That is the reason why you feel hungry after waking up. Sleep more, eat more and stay healthy.
A perfect dose of sleep helps you live longer
A lack of sleep is a cause of illness. And disease affects the sleep patterns. It’s all interrelated. But one thing is for sure. Sleep affects the quality of your life. There are many involuntary functions taking place in your body. And they are all affected by sleep. The study reveals that people who sleep less have the higher chance to die in ages of fifty to eighty. So, sleep better, live better.
Creative minds always sleep well
The emotional aspects of memory strengthen during sleep and it helps stimulate creative thoughts. While you’re asleep, your brain organizes your memories, also streamlining them, resulting in increased creativity. So, if you are in search of the creative side of you, a simple sleep might help.
Inflammation is directly linked to sleep
A short, sleep activates undesirable constituents in your body. It may lead to inflammation and damage of cells. The primary target of these cells is your digestive tract. Inflammation in them is strongly linked to prolonged diseases. Sleep is an essential aspect related to inflammation in your body.
Hopefully, I have convinced you why sleep is important. So now you are probably wondering “How Much Sleep Do I Need?” If you have trouble getting to sleep, try these 9 things not to do before bedtime.
You may also find useful science-based reasons you are not sleeping.
Wrapping It All Up
The bottom line to all this is, a good sleep has more profits than losses. Apart from keeping you healthy, it also increases your capacity to work. It improves your behavior giving you an upper edge in social life.
The choice is now yours. Do you want to place it under the profit column or the loss one?