While we come across information on how we can have a good night’s sleep every now and then, we are seldom aware of how an insufficient sleep can affect our health and well-being.
Because of paper works either from work or school and other household obligations, everyday is like a race against time. Add to it the temptations of the computer and the TV shows airing late at night, and the parties and gimmicks. At the end of the day, all the hours that should have gone to a good night’s sleep go to all of these, slowly robbing your body off a deserving rest and making you feel drowsy the next day. If you are accustomed to this way of life, be warned. All the bad things you do to your body have their own consequences, and they could be more serious than you thought.
I. The Social And Economic Costs
While there are health risks when you get a few hours of sleep each night, we cannot ignore the fact that its dire risks affect the nation’s economy. According to a report from the Institute Pf Medicine, an arm of National Academy of Sciences, 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems, with as many as 30 million suffering from chronic insomnia.
The result? Motor vehicle accidents due to tired rivers cost at least $48 billion a year, while fatigue cost $150 billion each year in lost productivity and mishaps.
The report, entitled. “Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Disorders: An Unmet Public Health Problem”, says that in recent decades, loss of sleep has increased due to TV shows, computers, and longer work days among adults.
For those suffering from insomnia, that means more days off work for you. A study led by Virginia Godet-Cayre at the Health Economics Research in France proves that workers who had difficulty falling asleep missed an average of 5.8 days of work a year, compared to only 2.4 days missed by “good sleepers.” The team tracked down the work histories of 369 workers who had insomnia and 369 workers who were getting the right amount of sleep. The study, published in the February issue of Sleep, says that 50% of the insomniac group had at least a time of absence over a 2-year period, against to 34% of the other group.
II. Teens And Sleep
These days it’s not just the adults who are lacking sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reported that only 20% of adolescents in USA are getting the recommended 9 hours of sleep at night. That figure is alarming, because it shows that
millions of them have problems concentrating in classes, are getting late for school, or are sleepy when driving.
III. If You Want To Lose Weight, Don’t Just Focus On Your Diet
Want to know a secret? The road to a good figure is not just eating food in low quantity and exercising on a regular basis;
it’s having a proper lifestyle. I’m not a fitness expert, mind you, but health studies are giving more and more evidence
supporting a link between how many hours of sleep you get and your tendency to be obese.
A study led by Dr. Steven Heymsfield of Columbia University amd St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, and James
Gangwisch, a Columbia epidemiologist, showed that those who had less that 4 hours of sleep were more likely to be obese by
73%, while those with an average of 5 hours of sleep had 50% greater risk. Those who only had 6 hours had 23% more.
The reason? Blame it on grehlin, a substance that makes people want to eat more food.
If people don’t have the recommended amount of shut-eye, their leptin levels are lowered.
Leptin is a blood protein that suppresses their appetite, and seems to affect how their body had eaten enough.
So don’t think that dieting is the only way for a nice build; include getting sufficient sleep in your regimen from now on.
IV. And More Diseases, Too
If you’re already tired of reading about the dire consequences you will face when you don’t give yourself the right amount of
rest, here are a few more for your information.
When your body is deprived of the sleep it needs, your chances of getting coronary heart disease double compared to people who have an adequate amount of sleep.
And if you’re a male, read on. You’d be interested to know that men who are sleep deprived are risking themselves for an erectile dysfunction. That happens when their testosterone levels drop due to a few hours of sleep, making it more difficult to maintain an erection.
For older people aged 53-93, there’s a risk of developing diabetes. That’s what a study co-authored by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University claimed.
Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the findings concluded that elders who slept fewer than 5 hours were 2.5
times more likely to acquire the sweet disease against those who had 6 hours, who had chances 1.7 times lower.
But don’t think that sleeping too much will solve the problem, though. The study showed that overslept elders – those who had more than 9 hours of sleep – had chances 1.7 times higher.
Lastly, sleeplessness causes an individual to have an impaired spatial learning, such as getting to a new destination. This
finding, which appeared on the Journal of Neurophysiology, suggested that during the process of spatial learning, new brain cells are being produced in an area of the brain called Hippocampus. Sleep is important in helping these brain cells survive.
We all know that sleep plays a major part in one’s overall well-being, and now that we know exactly what we are likely facing
when we have lack of it, where do we go from here?
It seems that more research is needed in the area of sleep medicine, and public awareness must be raised for everyone to understand that, despite all the obligations, late night TV shows and caffeinated drinks, getting sufficient sleep is really,
really important for everyone, young or old. And as for you reading this article, I bet you agree.