Sleeping is not just an activity that feels nice or relaxing. It is an essential process for your body and your health. Without sleep, you may experience a decline in your cognitive and physical health. Chronic lack of sleep can be extremely dangerous for your health. Drinking more coffee cannot make up for a consistent lack of sleep.
While you sleep, your body performs necessary functions. For example, sleep is vital for recovery. As you sleep, your body releases proteins and hormones that restore the movement and structure of your tissues. This is especially important for athletes or those who go to the gym frequently. Not getting enough sleep slows your recovery and your muscle development.
There are many side effects of poor sleeping habits.
You may notice that you become more irritable after not getting enough sleep. Perhaps things that generally don’t bother you get on your nerves. This isn’t just because you are in a bad mood. In fact, sleep helps your brain regulate emotions. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t work at full capacity.
Memory and Attention
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain moves slower. We have all had long nights where we were tired the next day. Lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus on work or school. Unfortunately, this can create another set of problems. Additionally, it can be hard to learn new things or retain information.
If you drive, being sleep-deprived can be dangerous. Because you are operating heavy machinery, you need focus and concentration. However, lack of sleep can slow your reaction time and reduce your ability to concentrate on the road. Therefore, you can increase your risk of getting into a car accident.
Although one night of bad sleep won’t cause long-term effects, chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your immune system. Your body needs sleep to recover. In fact, your body creates a protein that fights inflammation while you sleep. Therefore, sleeping is essential for your body to fight off infections and other illnesses.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones—adrenaline and cortisol—help your body move quicker and make faster decisions. However, your body cannot endure these hormones for long periods of time. In fact, your body releases them when in a fight-or-flight situation.
Long-term exposure to stress hormones can damage your immune system. This can make it more difficult for your body to fight off illness or recover from medical procedures.
Another issue with lack of sleep is its effect on your heart. When your body releases stress hormones, it raises your blood pressure. This is because your body thinks it is in danger. So, raising your blood pressure helps your body move faster. However, there is no danger, and the stress is not released. People with chronic insomnia or other sleep issues are more likely to develop heart disease.