It is not a self-help masterclass. It rings true that regular sleep patterns are good for your health. Ask those in the know, those who have lost massive amounts of sleep time. Research has shown that women, especially in Africa, suffer from sleep problems.
Kenya continues to bear a huge hypertension burden. It remains one of the most common cardiovascular diseases accounting for over 50 per cent of hospital inpatient admissions and 40 per cent of hospital deaths. How does it connect with sleep? The answer is pretty simple. Sleep deprivation can cause hypertension.
Just so we are on the same page I am not talking about insomnia which is a medically diagnosed sleeping disorder. What I want to address is deliberately depriving oneself of sleep and the side effects of that decision on your health. Now brace yourself because you will be surprised just how important it is to have a good night’s sleep. Listed are some of the negative effects of irregular sleeping patterns:
Serious health problems
If you deny yourself less than eight hours of sleep every night you risk contracting the following ailments; heart disease, irregular heartbeats, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and migraines.
Low sex drive
According to specialists, men and women who suffer sleep deprivation reported less interest in sexual intercourse and lower libidos due to depleted energy and increased tension.
Lack of sleep can hinder thinking and learning as it impairs alertness, reasoning, concentration and problem-solving. Consistent sleeping cycles are crucial to cognitive processes that aid in the retention of memories in the brain.
Sleep loss is a major public safety hazard because it slows down the reaction time of a motorist as much as drunk driving. Accidents are not just limited to the roads but also in the workplace where daytime sleepiness has led to an increase in repetitive injuries.
Ageing of the skin
A few sleepless nights can lead to puffy eyes and sallow skin but a chronic case can cause fine lines, dark circles under the eyes and pale skin. Your body will release stress hormones which in excess amount break down the protein responsible for keeping the skin smooth and elastic.
Hampering the growth hormone
During deep sleep, the human growth hormone is released which not only promotes growth but as we age helps strengthen bones and increase muscle mass. Sleep loss can cause little production of this hormone thus having a long term effect on one’s growth.
If you desire to have a long term memory like an elephant then it is advisable to get enough sleep.
Studies show that lack of sleep can affect your interpretation of events. This may affect your ability to assess a situation and act on it wisely especially on what sleep deprivation is doing to you. People who have adapted to a sleeping schedule of six hours or less gradually experience a decrease in performance and mental alertness.
Ever wondered why every time you have not had enough sleep you keep eating? There is a scientific explanation for all of it. According to research people who put in less than six hours every night were 30 per cent likely to become obese. Sleeplessness seems to have a relation to an increase in appetite and hunger. It stimulates cravings for high fat and high carbohydrate foods thus adequate sleep might be considered in future as part of standard weight loss programs.
Increased risk of death
British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality rate of more than 10,000 civil servants. The published results showed that those who had cut their time from five hours or less nearly doubled their risk of death, particularly from cardiovascular diseases.
Forget what the self-help gurus are saying about success and putting in the hours. Unless you want to make enough dough to pay for your medical expenses, go on now and get yourself adequate zzzzz.