Everyone has experienced perhaps a few days or weeks where you just can’t seem to get enough shut eye to keep you functioning at optimum capacity, however during this stressful time, sleep is a commodity which is hard to come by in large amounts. Although it seems that we have all the time in the world to get things done, the lack of structure just keeps pushing for more. More and more activities seem to NEED to be done in one day rather than being split over the duration of a few days. The big question is though: Can Our Bodies Keep Up With This Demand??
I have researched into this topic and wanted to share some of the ill effects that lack of sleep can have on the body. They may stop you in your tracks when you think of going to bed at 3am tonight…
You Can Get Sick
Who knew that when you sleep, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines? These proteins fight infection and reduce inflammation in the body when under stress. But guess what, sleep deprivation decreases the production of the protective proteins and antibodies!!
In simple terms this means that our immune systems are compromised and are unable to do their jobs at full capacity which means… more viral and bacterial infections for us. In the current climate, I don’t believe that any of us would be willing to leave ourselves open to infection of Corona Virus when we could just sleep in a few hours extra.
You Can’t Concentrate
Anyone in college now will be swamped in a bed of unwritten assignments that must be submitted in the dreaded month of May however, why can’t we just sit down and write them?
The first thought we always jump to is ‘oh I’m just procrastinating, I’ll get to them later’, but when does later come? Perhaps the reason is not procrastination but sleep deprivation!
Studies have shown that lack of sleep affects the brains ability to function properly. It leads to lower alertness and concentration and it also makes it more difficult to focus and pay attention. This really decreases your ability to perform tasks or to apply complex thought. This lack of concentration will show in many of our daily tasks, so if you’re thinking of driving, perhaps think of getting the extra few hours of shut eye and prevent any accidents from happening.
Have you been going in and out of rooms lately, looking for things but you just can’t seem to remember what thing they were? Can you even remember what task they were for or what you can use them for??
It’s a possibility that you have finally gone mad but before we jump to that conclusion looks at what some studies have shown! It appears that different phases of sleep have different roles to play in consolidation new information into our memories. This means by cutting hours of sleep from your routine, you’ll be prone to these forgetful days!
Nerve connection that make our memories are strengthened when we sleep so by losing out on sleep you are damaging your ability to make short- and long-term memories!
Severe Food Craving (SUGAR)
After a long night and an early rise have you ever just not been able to satisfy a food craving or appetite? Perhaps your normal breakfast which would keep you satisfied for hours is not even curbing the hunger. Well if you’re wondering what this could be, think of how many hours of sleep you have gotten!
Here’s what the link is between food and sleep: Ghrelin and Leptin are two hormones that regulate hunger, but which are affected by sleep. Ghrelin stimulates appetite while Leptin decreases it. When the body is sleep deprived ghrelin levels spike and leptin falls which of course means … INCREASED HUNGER! The body wants to stimulate its systems so energy can produced! This leads to us grabbing those unhealthy treats in larger quantities than would be deemed healthy..
This may happen on the off occasion but if it is occurring too often, health condition could arise so some extra sleep would definitely be recommended to stop those cravings!
How to Catch up on Sleep
After reading the damage that too little sleep can have on our bodies, you are probably wondering how to go about catching up right? Well, I’m afraid to tell you that it is not an overnight fix! It is recommended that you start increasing the amount of sleep you are getting by an hour or two depending on how much you were skimping out on.
I have started setting an alarm on my phone to tell me when I have slept for at least 8 hours and have never felt better! Perhaps try this, and if after you stop the alarm you fancy more rest, just close your eyes again!