People spend around a third of their lives asleep. While you're asleep, your brain processes information and your body cleans and repairs itself. Even after staying up for one night, the brain and body function at lower performance. A report published by A M Williamson and Anne-Marie Feyer shows that after a 17-19 hours period of sleep deprivation, cognitive performance is like alcohol intoxication.
But the longest recorded sleep deprivation period of around 11 days nearly cost a 26-year-old Chinese man his life. The lack of sleep caused behavioural and cognitive alterations, problems with focus, hallucinations, and paranoia.
Top-quality sleep can help improve all types of metabolic and cognitive issues. So, here’s a list of the top 7 mind-blowing reasons to get enough sleep.
When you’re asleep, your mind processes your emotions. It needs time to acknowledge and assimilate the day’s events and identify the right reaction. When you’re depriving yourself of sleep, you cut your brain short. You wake up with pessimistic and flooded by negative feelings. And chronic sleep deprivation can result in a bad mood and leads to depression.
People with insomnia are likelier to develop anxiety, panic attacks, and other mood disorders. So, by hitting the bed at the right time and resetting your system, you not only improve your mood but you’re better prepared to overcome your life’s daily challenges.
A Perfect Diet
When you sleep less, you tend to eat more. It’s been proven by a variety of studies carried out by the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/ Nutrition. Researcher Andrew Calvin, MD, MPH, and cardiovascular disease and medicine assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic, states that when people don’t get enough sleep, they can eat a surplus of 549 calories per day.
When you’re deprived of sleep, you tend to crave carbohydrates and consume more sugars. And, your self-control capabilities are minimized which lead to poor diet choices. It’s mainly because of the overproduction of ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone and low rates of leptin, which signals your brain that you’ve had enough to eat.
Increases Focus and Productivity Rates
Sleep has a significant impact on cognition, focus, productivity, and your overall performance. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re likely to experience low focus levels which also affects your capacity to learn and memorize. It’s difficult to focus and absorb new information without sleep. Your mind doesn’t have enough time to process and store memories which you can pull up later.
Sleep affects endurance sports more than anaerobic activities such as weightlifting. But that doesn’t affect the importance of sleep for your overall wellness. Besides depriving you of energy and muscle repair time, it also decreases motivation which is what pushes you forward towards the finish line. And your reaction times will also be slower.
Also, enough sleep improves people’s athletic performance. A study carried out by researchers Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, and Dement WC, showed that longer sleep improved their basketball players’ speed, their reaction time, their accuracy, and mental health.
Minimize the Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
The duration and quality of your sleep impact your health. Sleep deprivation can trigger chronic diseases including heart failure and type two diabetes. When you’re asleep, your heart lowers blood pressure in your body to give your blood vessels a rest. And with less rest, you’ll experience longer periods of higher blood pressure during the 24-hour cycle. It can lead to cardiovascular stroke and other heart diseases.
Also, sleep restriction impacts your blood sugar levels and decreases your insulin sensitivity. According to the study “Impact of Sleep Debt on Metabolic and Endocrine Function”, by Spigel K., Leprout R., and Van Cauter E., if you deprive your body of sleep for 6 nights in a row, you’ll notice prediabetes symptoms and high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It also shows that you can overcome these risks after one week of proper sleep.
Optimizes the Immune System
The slightest deprivation of sleep impacts your immune system as proven by a report named “Sleep Depravation and Susceptibility to the Common Cold” report by Cohen S., Doyle Wj., Alper CM, Janichki-Deverts D., and Turner RB, which monitored a 2 weeks period during which people took drops with the cold virus. The study showed that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep were 3 times likelier to catch a cold than people who slept for at least 8 hours. This suggests that, if you easily catch a cold, you should try to sleep more which will boost your immune system.
The Positive Brain Flush
According to Alon Avidan, the chief of the Sleep Disorder Center at the California University in Los Angeles, sleep clears your brain of toxins and metabolites which you accumulate throughout the day. Avidan shows that the process is performed primarily through the glymphatic system which is responsible for removing waste from your brain using cerebrospinal fluid. Also, when your asleep the brain’s cells shrink and allow the cerebrospinal fluid to flush any waste. Avidan stresses that the glymphatic system is only active while you’re sleeping. Enjoy a good night’s sleep to ensure that your mind is clear the next day.
A good night’s sleep improves your overall health and productivity. But when you don’t get enough rest both your mind's power and metabolic capacity significantly decrease. So, to maximize the quality of your life and avoid hurting your mind and body you should develop better habits. Reading this in bed or late at night, maybe it’s time to switch off and get some all-important sleep. Goodnight.