(Natural News) Lack of sleep not only makes you grumpy in the morning, it can also affect your health in the long run. Getting good quality sleep is important for the body to function well. Listed below are several ways lack of sleep affects overall health. (h/t to HoustonMethodist.org.)
- Lack of sleep harms the heart – People who constantly lack sleep are more likely to get heart disease, regardless of their age, weight, whether they smoke, or their levels of physical activity. Moreover, people who sleep less than six hours each night are twice as likely to experience a stroke or heart attack compared to people who sleep for six hours or more, according to a study.
- Lack of sleep causes memory and brain problems – People who get enough sleep regularly are more likely to keep their memory sharp even in the future. In contrast, those who lack sleep tend to be forgetful. Research has shown that sharp wave ripples, which are brain events that primarily occur during the deepest sleep phase, are responsible for consolidating memory. Furthermore, lack of sleep can also play a role in depression. Sleep problems, such as insomnia, and depression feed off each other. Insomnia can worsen the symptoms of depression, while depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep. (Related: Lack of sleep slows you physically AND mentally: Study finds slow moving brain cells cause that “spaced out” feeling.)
- Lack of sleep results in bad skin – Have you noticed that you get puffy eyes or yellowish skin whenever you pull an all-nighter? What about those pimples that suddenly come out the next morning? These are just some of the short-term negative effects of not having enough sleep for a night. Continuous lack of sleep causes even more harm. It can result in lackluster skin and fine lines. These occur because the body releases the stress hormone called cortisol when you do not get enough sleep. Too much production of this stress hormone can cause the elasticity of the skin to break down.
- Lack of sleep can make you fat – Lack of sleep could increase hunger and appetite, and potentially lead to obesity. Based on research, people who sleep less than six hours each day were nearly 30 percent more likely to become obese compared to those who sleep for seven to nine hours. Lack of sleep makes you tired, and can also make you hungry. Worse still, it makes you crave unhealthy foods that make you gain more weight, such as high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
There are certain times when you just find it difficult to fall asleep. Here are some tips you can follow to help you sleep better and longer:
- Use dim light – Avoid keeping the light, particularly bluish light, turned on during the night. Light tells the brain that it is still daytime and stops the release of chemicals essential for sleep, such as melatonin.
- Avoid using your phone before bed – Research has shown that watching television, or using your tablet or smartphone can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Refrain from drinking coffee – Drinking coffee, even if you are not drinking it before bedtime, can still affect your sleep. Caffeine changes the melatonin levels in the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep and making you sleep less.
- Stop drinking alcohol – Drinking alcohol has bad effects on your sleep, especially for insomniacs, according to a National Health Institute (NIH) review. Even light drinkers are affected. They take longer to fall asleep, sleep less well, and sleep for less time compared to those who do not drink alcohol. Alcohol also increases the risk of sleep problems like apnea.
Read more news stories and studies on how lack of sleep affects the body by going to MindBodyScience.news.