Sleep Deprivation: Why the Lack of ZZZ's Could Slowly Be Killing You

Sleep––one of the most vital aspects to our survival and yet one of the most neglected.

Late night work sessions or girls night out followed by early mornings are usually the culprit to not getting enough sleep. However, not getting the recommended eight hours of sleep every night doesn't just make you a little groggy the next day, it can actually have longer-term negative effects on your health.

Doctors and scientists have always been fascinated in sleep deprivation, which has produced a ton of research on the topic. A lack sleep can go as far as to alter your mental and emotional state of being, basically slowly lose sight of reality. If you've watched the Netflix show Maniac recently, you know that when anything alters the mind crazy things can happen.

Here are a few things that can happen to your body overtime due to sleep deprivation:

Memory Issues

Your phone isn't the only battery charging at night, your mind is also rebooting to prepare for the next day. When you sleep, your brain is processing short-term and long-term memories, which help you to process and remember new information. When you aren't getting enough or quality sleep overtime your brain will begin to have problems recalling certain information.

Moodiness

Ever wonder why that one annoying coworker is just that much harder to stand some days than others? It could be due to a lack in sleep that can you to be more emotional and quick-tempered than usual. Sleep deprivation can cause deeper psychological issues such as depression and anxiety that may get worse over time.

Weight Gain

Whenever you eat, your stomach sends a signal to your brain that you are full and do not need anymore (making self-control a much easier concept). However, when you are lacking adequate sleep your body senses the chemicals in your body that send the 'I'm full' signal are off balance, which makes it more likely for you to overindulge. Other chemicals in your body that can also be offset by sleep deprivation are your hormones.

Weak Immune System

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter to cram for an exam or finish a last minute paper and then found yourself sick within the next few days? Oddly enough, this is most likely due to not sleeping. While you sleep your body produces cytokines, which help your body fight against infection. Normally, if you were exposed germs associated with the flu or common cold your body would fight against them, however if you're lacking sleep your body has a much harder time fighting against certain illness.

In order to get enough sleep you might just need to make it a priority and get to bed at an earlier hour however, there are also unique instances where you might be in bed for 8+ hours, but aren't necessarily getting quality sleep.

So, have we scared you into getting enough sleep yet? Getting enough sleep isn't as easy as it sounds, life happens. How do we ensure that we are getting into bed early enough and getting quality sleep throughout the night? Here are a few tips:

Cut the Phone Time Before Bed

Studies show that people who use electronics before bed have a higher risk of insomnia–for good reason. Interacting with electronics or socializing through media platforms can cause anxiety, stress, and excess energy from social interaction. However, there's a bigger reason as to why experts are saying to cut the electronics at least thirty minutes before bed and that is do to the blue light that phones and laptops produce.

The problem with the light that your electrons produce is that your brain interprets it as daylight, which causes your mind to suppress melatonin and keep you from falling asleep. Making sure you take 30 minutes before bed without electronics, such as reading a book is great for the best sleep possible.

No Caffeine After 3:00 pm

There's nothing like an afternoon pick-me-up at your local Starbucks, but your 3:00 cappuccino might be hurting you more than helping you. Having caffeine this late can greatly effect the time it takes you to fall into a deep, sound sleep.

Switch out your caffeinated drink for caffeine free tea or lemon water and catch those ZZZ's.

Nix the Nap

Who doesn't love nap time? However, a regular afternoon nap could also be inhibiting your quality of sleep. Instead, cut the nap and get to bed a little earlier.

Forming a healthy bedtime ritual is key to getting a great night's sleep. Try out some of these tips and let us know how it's making you better in the gym! STAY GRITTY.

Amelia CogginComment