What do you know about the importance of sleep? For starters, sleep is one of the basic needs of every human being (or every living creature on Earth, as a matter of fact). It is necessary for physical and psychological well-being and essential for proper mental and biological functioning. Sleep is crucial and affects basically every physiological process in the human body. Therefore, we hear similar phrases every day, especially during childhood (and during that time, this sounds particularly annoying).
However, sometimes, it just makes us wonder, is it all really true and has anyone ever suffered severe consequences from lacking sleep? One thing is sure, sleep deprivation was a form of torture and as an interrogation technique in a not so distant past. So, if something is a punishment, then it must be pretty grave and serious, right? It sure is. Sleep really does affect every process in the human body, one way or the other.
What happens when the importance of sleep is not your priority?
When a human body lacks sleep, it enters a survival mode, just like with water and food deprivation. This survival mode is very harsh because it is trying to alarm you to change something as soon as possible. So, what will happen to you if you don’t sleep well? Well, some of the first things you will notice are related to your mood, motivation, and concentration. Depending on the duration of the deprivation period, these changes can prolong and deepen themselves. At first, you will feel dizzy, moody and easily irritated. Then you will go to work or try to study and you will notice a lack of motivation, inability to concentrate and decreased productivity.
Then, you will start feeling tired. And what will be your first aid remedy? Coffee of course! A lot of coffee. Unfortunately, this way you enter a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation and tiredness because the more caffeine you consume during the day, the chances of getting enough sleep are even lower. Caffeine has a prolonged effect on the sleep cycle, so you should limit the amount you are consuming and try not to consume it a couple of hours before bedtime. Here are a few tricks that will help you sleep better and feel better.
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system
The importance of sleep is especially highlighted when it comes to health in general. Research studies indicate that people are more likely to develop a cold or flu if they don’t get sufficient sleep. This is especially important during winter when viruses lurk everywhere. This occurs because sleep is one of the ways the body repairs itself and when it is denied that possibility – it fails even on routine tasks. As a matter of fact, sleep is probably the most important way of repairing exhausted systems.
In the long run, this can be particularly dangerous. It means that other damaged systems can’t repair themselves efficiently. In case you didn’t know, the heart muscle repairs itself overnight. Therefore, a good night’s sleep is extremely important for the health of the cardiovascular system. In addition, the results of various studies show that those who lack sleep can be at risk for developing chronic cardiovascular diseases or experiencing a heart stroke.
Can lack of sleep trigger weight gain?
Weight gain is also one of the potential results of not sleeping enough. The human body needs energy for its proper functioning and in case one source of energy is not enough, it will result in alternative sources, in this case, food. In addition, sleep stimulates hormones that regulate your appetite. Therefore, the disruption of the sleep cycle creates a disbalance and this in some cases causes unintentional weight gain. Sleep deprivation has an impact on social and interpersonal relationships as well. You moodiness, stress and irritability will probably disrupt your work. Your social relations can also suffer and you can get into unintentional disagreements and quarrels.
The importance of sleep with children – They need a lot more sleep!
Children and teenagers need a lot of sleep. Seriously – a lot of sleep. Therefore, for them, the importance of sleep should be one of the top priorities. Their daily activities consume a lot of energy and the growth and development processes are very intense during this time. Their bodies exhaust themselves with these daily efforts and need time to repair. Teenagers are especially in a vulnerable position. They’re not kids but they most certainly are not adults, yet. Teenagers usually want to stay up all night, while their body needs as much sleep as a 7-year-old. They want to imitate the lifestyle of grownups and their behavioral patterns.
What they really need is a quiet room, a warm glass of milk and 10 hours of sleep. If you are a parent of a teenager, you probably know that is really difficult to argue and reason with them. Try to explain the dangers of not getting enough sleep and try not to be repressive when you catch them surfing the internet at 3 am. They will try to argue about their bedtime just like about any other subject. But we all know that behind that strong, confident attitude, they are still children in disguise. At the end of the day, after a few failed chemistry tests and missed English essay deadlines, they will understand that they need a good night’s sleep. And so do you.