In today’s busy world sleep-deprivation is quite common, and it seems to have become the norm for people to just up their intake of caffeine and energy drinks, rather than taking a proactive approach to address the real issue of why they’re not sleeping properly.
For a long time, I was one of those people who treated sleep deprivation like it was a normal thing, and that I should learn to just “live with it”. And it wasn’t until my brother recently started suffering from some very bad effects brought on from lack of sleep that I realized it was much more severe than I originally had thought. What society considered normal or acceptable, the body had another agenda. Whether it’s because of deadlines and meetings or binge-watching your favorite TV series, sleep deprivation is not healthy in more ways than one.
You Become An Overall Less Efficient Human Being
This is probably the most common side-effect of sleep deprivation. Everything seems slower and heavier than it used to be when you haven’t had enough sleep. This is because your body is tired from continuously being awake and not having enough time to recharge itself. Like food and water, sleep is also essential for your body to be healthy. While this may sound incredibly obvious; let’s admit that a lot of people choose to ignore this and pay for it in the long run.
You Are More Succeptible to Disease and Sickness
In addition to not being able to properly function, people who haven’t had enough sleep are also more vulnerable to diseases. Sleep is important for the body to rebuild itself and maintain an optimally functioning state. Once we remove or shorten the time it needs to repair itself, the body is more succeptible to many different types of diseases.
Your Emotional and Mental Health Begin to Suffer
Is it paranoia that causes sleeplessness or the other way around? A study in 2008 (1) has shown that sleep deprivation can actually affect a person’s sanity. According to Dr. Daniel Freeman from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, lack of sleep can make a person feel stressed, which results in weakness not only of the physical body, but also in mental health. In this state we are much more mentally disconnected with the world and it is the ideal breeding ground for paranoia to take hold.
Lack of Sleep Confuses the Body
A study by the researchers in the University of Surrey has found that the body gets “altered” internally when a person abstains from sleep for prolonged periods of time. Sleep deprivation or sudden and drastic changes in sleep pattern can disturb the circadian rhythm — or what most people refer to as the body clock. In other words, the body assumes that it is resting when in fact it is awake. Due of this, some genes can be more active when they shouldn’t be and vice-versa. For example, the body tends to produce more proteins that change its chemistry, which may lead to various complications later on.
There are going to be those inevitably unavoidable times when you simply cannot get a proper nights sleep, however, the key is to always find time to let your body rest and recover whenever you can. Whether that’s in between tasks or after you beat that deadline at work; take short breaks or a day off every now and then. We all need to rest once in a while, after all.