The Hazards of Inadequate Sleep

Sleep is an essential need that humans need. It’s the body’s way to recuperate after a long day of work. Being mentally and physically drained puts a lot on the body and we need time to replenish our energy, allow our organs to recover and let our brain rest for a bit. While we sleep, there’s a decreased reaction to stimuli and our voluntary actions are inhibited. During sleep, most of our vital organs take the time to recover and allow us to rejuvenate ourselves. A specific number of hours should be allotted for sleep. Without it, our body suffers significantly as exhibited by a number of symptoms.

Lack of sleep delivers a great impact to our health. There are a number of effects such as getting grumpy or being sleepy all day. But it doesn’t stop there. If you don’t get enough sleep, you also suffer the physiological and psychological effects that may interfere with your daily life and put your health at great risk. What are these consequences?

Risk for Accidents

When we lack sleep, our brain isn’t functioning at its optimum efficiency. That would mean our concentration and focus is significantly decreased along with our ability to make rational decisions. Automobile accidents caused by falling asleep or drowsing off while on the wheel are common nowadays and most of them have devastating results. A good night’s sleep is important if you want to stay away from accidents.

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Decreased Concentration

Sleeping is our body’s way of recovering our energy and a chance for the different body systems to recuperate. However, going without sleep decreases our brain function. This leads to a diminished ability in making decisions, inconsistency in focus and a decreased attention span. Another thing that contributes to the decreased level of concentration when we lack sleep is the physical exhaustion that we experience. With both physical and mental capacities at their limit, we often doze off during work or school, unable to concentrate on finishing our tasks.

Risk for Diabetes

Those who don’t get enough sleep can increase their risk to develop diabetes. Usually, people who lack sleep tend to eat to get energy from another source, raising the blood sugar levels. There is a relationship between lack of sleep and the development of insulin resistance, the antecedent of diabetes. Because of the decreased action of insulin, our blood sugar levels tend to remain at a high level since there’s nothing that can regulate them. Getting enough sleep and eating the right food is important in avoiding or controlling diabetes.

Headaches

Getting a headache is usually a sign that our brain isn’t getting enough oxygen that it needs to stay functioning properly. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain doesn’t get its share of rest, even for just a while. This leads to the brain becoming overworked and continuing to use up the consistent amount of oxygen even though we’re already exhausted. The delivery of oxygenated blood to the brain is decreased, consequently leading to getting headaches. Prolonged or frequent headaches would then develop into migraines.

Unhealthy Weight Loss or Weight Gain

During sleep, the cholesterol or fat in our body is processed to be converted into energy. Any excess cholesterol is then turned into adipose tissue or the fat in our tissues. If you lack sleep, this process is disrupted, leading to the high level of cholesterol in our blood. The cholesterol isn’t converted into energy or adipose tissue which may lead to weight loss. Weight gain is also an issue since those who lack sleep tend to eat; however, the cholesterol breakdown process is disrupted in a sense that cholesterol meant for energy isn’t absorbed well – instead, all or most of it is stored as adipose tissue.

Increased Blood Pressure

Inadequate sleep results in the decreased amount of oxygen that the brain receives. In turn, it affects all our body systems. With lack of sleep, our blood vessels constrict, leading to an increase in blood pressure. This is most often felt as a throbbing headache or pain in the nape. If you are diagnosed to have hypertension, it’s dangerous to go without enough sleep as your blood pressure may rise to dangerous levels.

Hallucinations

The lack of sleep leads to the deterioration of the brain’s overall functions, causing a cascade of events and ultimately damaging your health. In severe cases of insomnia, hallucinations can be experienced once the brain doesn’t get enough rest. A rare autosomal condition called Fatal Familial Insomnia is a progressively worsening type of insomnia that causes a number of symptoms. One of those symptoms includes hallucinations. They can be visual, auditory, tactile or olfactory in nature, causing a severe disturbance in one’s daily function.

Muscle Pain and Joint Pain

The workload that is exerted on our body daily is initially felt physically. Our fingers may get stiff, our shoulders may get sore, our legs become tired and all experiences that are similar. Muscle pain is a common symptom of inadequate sleep. During sleep, the various systems in our body are given the time to rest. This includes the musculoskeletal system. Without being allowed to rest, our muscles will often feel sore or painful.

Susceptibility to Stress

Sleep is one of the ways for our body to recover from stress. Once we don’t get enough sleep, we become more irritable and respondent to stress. You become sensitive to the most minor of problems, you become moody, your decision making ability suffers, your attention span and concentration significantly decrease and the way you handle your work generally suffers.

Most people take sleep for granted nowadays. Thinking about how they can go through the day with 4-6 hours of sleep is unwise. Our body needs the time to be able to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally so that our health doesn’t suffer. It’s common for people to think that lack of sleep can only cause daytime sleepiness or physical exhaustion. However, sleep is more than that. Inadequate sleep can pose serious health hazards. Therefore, give yourself the time to get enough sleep or at least catch up some sleep for the sake of your health. read more…

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