Sleep deprivation is one of the most effective ways of torture. I’ve heard that most Navy Seals crack after 2 weeks of only getting 1-2 hours of sleep a night. I gotta hand it to you new moms-you sometimes go months on only a couple hours of sleep a night! Not only is it important to get sleep to avoid irritability and emotional/mental instability, sleep also helps your body to overcome a host of maladies, like: heart disease, cancer, inflammation, stress, memory loss, weight gain, long recovery times after physical exertion, and of course drowsiness. Let’s explain how it does all of that:
Heart Health: Did you know that most heart attacks happen in the early morning hours? When you body is deprived of valuable hours of sleep over time, your blood pressure and cholesterol will worsen. To avoid this, you should try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
Anti-Carcinogen: If you work the late shift, you may be at a higher risk for breast and colon cancer. Researchers believe this link is caused by differing levels of melatonin in people who are exposed to light at night. Light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.
Stress: Simply put, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body enters a state of stress. Your body’s functions all go to battle stations when you’re stressed- blood pressure increases as a result and puts you at a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. To make matters even worse, stress hormones make it harder for you to sleep!
Inflammation: Stress hormones also cause the level of inflammation in your body to increase. Inflammation is thought to be one of the causes of the deterioration of your body as you get older.
Memory Loss: When you sleep, your brain goes through a process called memory consolidation. As your body rests, your brain is busy processing the events of the day, making connections between sensory inputs, events, and other memories. Getting more quality sleep will help your brain to be able to forge these links, thus allowing you to remember more things.
Weight Gain: Researchers have found that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. Apparently if you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone levels in your body that affect appetite may get out of balance. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by a lack of sleep.
Recovery Times: Your body’s cells are able to process more protein when you are sleeping, and those protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage. Sleep also helps your body repair itself from damage caused by stress, UV rays, and other harmful exposures.
So get some sleep. You’ll feel better, be slimmer, and have less stress. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me. BOLA TANGKAS