Is Sleep Deprivation Toxic to Your Health?
Are you having trouble sleeping at night?
If you are, you’re not alone. Public health professionals describe the sleep deprivation many people are currently experiencing as “epidemic,” “alarming,” and “chronic.”
If you’re interested in learning more about insomnia, this article will give you some solid information and get you thinking about your own problems with sleep. You’ll be surprised at the ways in which insomnia can contribute to many health issues, including weight-related problems (for more information, see “How Sleep Loss Leads to Significant Weight Gain” at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/20/sleep-loss-weight-gain/7507503/).
Simply stated, your sleep is more important to your mental, emotional, and physical health than you’ve ever imagined.
Equally toxic to your health is ignoring even short-term insomnia. A common misunderstanding about sleep deprivation is the belief that only long-term sleeplessness is toxic to your body. Wrong! Even one night without adequate sleep has an immediate impact on your health. If you’re experiencing problems with your own sleep, I don’t need to explain to you how you feel the next morning.
I trust that you’re not driving under the influence of alcohol. What if I told you that whenever you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to drive a car or operate any other machinery the next morning is equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol? It’s true: In terms of the ability to drive, you are literally…drunk. Studies have shown that your mental focus, body coordination, decision-making process, attention, reflexes, and cognitive processes are just as impaired as if you had a blood alcohol content level in the range of 0.1–0.5%! (For more information, see http://oem.bmj.com/content/57/10/649.long).
Do you need more facts to convince you to do something about your lack of sleep?
When your brain doesn’t have adequate time to perform all its necessary functions during sleep (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/brain-sleep-_n_5863736.html), your predisposition toward anger increases, and your communications skills, as well your memory, decrease. You “read” your surroundings incorrectly, meaning that you’re more likely to incorporate misinformation into your reality. In extreme situations, you can start to hallucinate, to anticipate things that aren’t there, and to see and hear different objects. I know, you’re not insane, but …
Don’t be surprised if, after many nights without adequate sleep, you start to forget words in the middle of a conversation.
When you don’t get an appropriate amount of sleep, your risk of having any kind of an accident increases.
Without a good night’s sleep, you’re not just suffering mentally, you’re suffering physically. People with sleep deprivation problems have decreased immune function. Are you getting sick more and more frequently, and you don’t know why? You may think that your problem with sleepless nights has nothing to do with your frequent illnesses—but you’d be wrong.
Human physiology explains the connection between sickness and sleepless: The human body’s reaction to sleep deprivation is similar to its reaction to sickness, and the consequences are almost the same. Can we say that an organism without adequate sleep is sick? Yes, we can.
Again, it’s correct to say that we, as people in general, are not aware of what a huge mistake it is to overlook sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is a factor that can interfere with our optimal general health.
Your life depends literally, among many other factors, on a good night’s rest.
So sleep well…and be healthy!