When was the last night you slept enough? Are you exhausted from the daily buzz, and can’t sleep at night because of the traffic?
If you worked 10 hours a day, make sure you get enough sleep tonight. I am dead serious. Even though you might think sleeping is only a necessity, sleep can be as important as breakfast!
By sleeping the brain flow is lowered, thus the brain resets and is capable to recharge for the following day. Vital functions, such as respiration and heart rate lower and metabolic processes transfer to anabolism reducing the overall energy usage. Also, the endocrine system resets and hormone balance is restored. Finally, muscles relax and tissues damage is repaired and cells regenerate.
So, the next time you think to pull up an all-nighter think about all the damage it might cause.
Let’s have a better look at what sleep deprivation can do to you.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Many evidence point to the fact that sleep deprivation is a major risk factor to one developing dementia, cognitive decline and other brain conditions similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
Among the latest is the Johns Hopkins University. The study was conducted with 70 adults, ranging from 53 to 91 years. PET scans, done to all the participants, showed areas of damaged tissue by the precipitated beta-amyloid. The damage was more noticeable in people who were sleep-deprived for a longer period.
Beta-amyloid is a protein found in the brain of all humans. This protein is deposited in the brain and excessive levels of beta-amyloid cause brain damage. While sleeping the body naturally gets rid of this protein, but sleep deprivation and even sleep shredding can lead up to high amounts of it in the brain.
The two main types of diabetes are type one, destruction of the Langerhans islets in the pancreas leading to minimal or not excitant insulin secretion, and type two, insulin resistance. Insulin is the main protein that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.
After having a meal, the levels of glucose increase and the pancreas starts to secrete insulin in two stages, the first being a fast stage when a huge amount of insulin is released in the bloodstream and slower phase, which is important to maintain the levels of glucose between normal levels.
Even though the most important risk factor for obesity leading to diabetes is genetics and certain life regimes, the reduction of sleep can be a deciding factor. Indeed, sleep deprivation alone cannot cause diabetes, certain genes can be overwritten and one can develop genes that can lead to problems with the blood levels of insulin.
Cardiovascular diseases and stroke
Studies conducted in recent years show an increasing number of people suffering from heart diseases and higher frequencies of strokes in people who are sleep deprived.
In fact, the heart rate is significantly lowered while sleeping. This helps with properly conducting the impulses through the heart which should contact and after relax the heart. The heart is a muscle, so just like all the other body muscles need a break.
When one is sleeping the normal heart rhythm is restored and the heart is functioning as it should.
Mental problems, just like other brain-related conditions, can be expressed or reoccurring on shorter periods when a person does not have a good night’s sleep.
Many studies showed that people who are battling depression and suffer from sleep deprivation are prone to suicide. In fact, chronic lack of sleep increases the suicide rate by 50%.
Ulcerative colitis, medically known as Crohn’s disease, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can affect the digestive system as a whole. The main lesions are areas of inflammation, skipping lesions, which are hard to treat.
To support the correlation between sleep deprivation and Crohn’s disease is debatable, though it is safe to say that the fact goes in favor of this thesis.
Researchers from Massachusetts General published a study that showed that women who slept for 6 hours or less during a longer period, had a higher predisposition to suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases more often.
On the contrary, getting more than 9 hours of sleep a day helps with food digestion and lowers the risk of suffering from Crohn’s disease or having an episode or an attack.
Last, prostate cancer is more common in men who are suffering from sleeping problems and are not getting enough sleep.
Though there are no relevant studies that can medically approve this thesis, small groups of studies show that men with sleep deprivation are more prone to develop prostatic cancer.
So the next time you think you have the energy to carry on after a hard day of work or school, think twice. Though it may seem harmless at first, lack of sleep can affect your normal functions and lead to many diseases!