One of the most common complaints of busy students or employees? That they are tired! As a whole, we do not get enough sleep, and we often end up relying on stimulants such as caffeine to help us through our days. However, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can have serious health consequences that are far greater than simply being tired. Here is why you should make sure to get to bed early:
- Lack of sleep makes it difficult to think properly
When you don’t get enough sleep, your cognitive functions can decrease dramatically. Lack of sleep can contribute to lack of concentration, alertness, and problem solving. A lack of attention can be dangerous in certain situations, such as when you are driving.
- It can weaken your immune system
When you are asleep, your body produces protective cytokines and other antibodies and cells that fight infections. These allow your body to fight off diseases in the form of bacteria and viruses. If you do not get enough sleep, your body is unable to fight off infections, and therefore raises your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, as well as respiratory issues like the common cold or influenza.
- Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain
When you are asleep, your body produces a hormone called leptin, which is responsible for signalling to your brain that you are full. It also raises level of the stress hormone cortisol and the biochemical called ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. When you do not get enough sleep, your body is prone to release a higher level of insulin, which allows more fat to be stored.
- Permanent memory loss
Its obvious that when you don’t sleep, remembering things is much more difficult. However, when you do sleep, your body is able to do some memory-story. Therefore, the less overall sleep you get, the weaker your memory will become over time.
- Can increase your risk for certain types of cancer
There is evidence to suggest that less sleep can be a factor in the development of certain types of cancer. In a study for colorectal cancer, the people who were diagnosed were more likely to have averaged less than six hours of sleep per night. Additionally, there is evidence to show that getting six hours of sleep leads to an increased risk for breast cancer.
- Can shorten your lifespan
Various studies have shown that people who sleep less tend to live shorter lives. One study found that men who sleep for less than six hours per night were four times more likely to die over a fourteen year period.
- Can make you depressed
People who sleep for less time at night are more likely to have depression. This may be because insomnia is a side effect of depression and anxiety, or because insomnia itself can cause depression.
- It can lower your sex drive
A lack of sleep can lessen your sex drive. When you sleep less, you have less energy, as well as more tension in your body. This can decrease your desire to have sex. Men who get less sleep also tend to have lower levels of testosterone, which also will cause a decrease in sex drive.
- Can decrease fertility levels