With only so many hours in a day, many tend to compromise on sleep to squeeze in extra time for work or recreation. The common mentality is that caffeine is the elixir that can compensate for fewer hours of sleep, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sleep is a critical component of the body’s health and starving from it is almost as hazardous as starving from food and water. Being sleep deprived is far more than poor emotional control waning concentration: here is a deeper look at the disadvantages of inadequate sleep.
What Is Considered “Adequate” Sleep
The general rule is that eight hours of sleep is the ideal goal for the body to recuperate enough for optimal functioning on the following day. Many tend to vary in terms of sleep threshold, but seven to nine hours is the range recommended and anything below that could pose health problems more severe than you might realize. It has been argued that the hours needed for daily rest decreases as people age, but seven hours is still vital to function properly over a period of time.
Types Of Sleep
Even if seven to nine hours are set aside to rest, the quality of those hours slumbering plays a large part in your productivity the following morning. Many have either not heard of or forget about sleep cycles; the body goes through different levels of sleep that serve the purpose of stimulating the mind and mood at different phases of the cycle.
Every phase during your sleep cycle lasts between 70 to 120 minutes and are as follows: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the final stage of the cycle and at its core is when brain activity is at its highest. Vivid dreams, memories, and creativity are all processes of recuperation for the body to cope with when waking up. This is the end goal for sleep in order to revitalize the mind and body.
The first three Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) are steps that lead towards this destination and function as steps that allow the body to relax and prepare for REM. Ultimately, sleep is only adequate when REM has been established for approximately 90 to 120 minutes per session.
Disadvantages of Sleep Deprivation
Moodiness and Fatigue
Part of REM’s job is to enhance mood and energy when asleep. Without properly completing the phase in the cycle, rest and recovery are interrupted which leads to moodiness and fatigue. This combination will result in low energy, poor concentration, and even transit to depression and anxiety.
Additionally, part of this low drive also equates to lower libido. Studies have shown that Sleep Apnoea, a condition that causes breathing difficulties during sleep can tamper with testosterone levels, preventing the body to recover its optimal quantity when sleep is interrupted.
Harder To Lose Weight
On a digestive angle, testosterone isn’t the only chemical in the body that needs replenishment daily. REM also gives the body more leptin (a chemical in the body that simulates the feeling of being full) - think of it as a healthy appetite suppressant. On the contrary, reduced levels of sleep increase the levels of ghrelin; a chemical that stimulates hunger - which is accredited to the tendency of binge eating and obesity in the long run.
Studies have shown that couples who struggle to conceive a child share the pattern of sleep deprivation. Much like testosterone, other hormones like melatonin and cortisol are severely held back when the body fails to hit the REM phase of the sleep cycle to carry out bodily recuperation.
There has also been a correlation in said studies that correlated the sleep rhythm to the potential of throwing off the period of ovulation in women. With a lack of sleep, the body commences secreting more stress-related hormones which sabotage fertility chances even further.
Increased chances of Heart Diseases
When the body sleeps, it’s temperature automatically lowers and steadies the heart rate - allowing every function of the body to literally rest. In doing so, blood pressure is steadied and blood circulation slows as muscle paralysis is a part of the first three stages of NREM. Without this, blood pressure does not have the luxury to moderate its levels, eventually leading to chemical imbalances, inflammations and ultimately, strain to the heart.
How To Sleep Adequately?
The solution is relatively simple in theory, but difficult when your time awake is precious. Experts have recommended the sleep hours of 10pm to 7am in order to allow the body to naturally acclimatise with the time of the day - essentially setting the biological clock to wake at dawn.
Taking the necessary steps to condition your body to ready itself for sleep this early on will require refrain from sports and food and caffeine after 9pm, and relax the mind by not doing activities too taxing for the mind like work or gaming.
Source: United News of Bangladesh