In offices, classrooms and coffee shops, people can be heard boasting that they “function well on very little sleep.” Many even brag how they never get more than a few hours of sleep – night after night. Is this a good thing?
The reality is that failure to get an appropriate amount of sleep on a consistent basis may result in significant and even life-threatening problems.
Major Health Problems
Failing to get an appropriate amount of sleep renders people more vulnerable to a range of health problems including…
High blood pressure
The thinking and learning processes largely depend on a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep hampers a person’s ability to concentrate, reason and solve problems. In addition, different sleep cycles are needed to consolidate and make sense of memories and information collected during the course of a given day. In the absence of appropriate sleep, this consolidation cannot occur and a person will not be able to recall or remember properly what previously was experienced or learned. Of course, this can affect the academic performance of children, if not corrected.
Mental Health Problems
A considerable number of people who fail to get a proper amount of sleep end up suffering from depression. In some cases, the depression is persistent and does not readily resolve. Moreover, a significant sleep deficit over an extended period of time can result in a person actually suffering psychotic symptoms. In other words, a person no longer experiences normal thought processes and endures abnormal perceptions of reality.
A 2004 research study reported by the Mayo Clinic and other institutions revealed that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are 30 percent more likely to be obese. In other words, research established a link between a lack of proper sleep and excessive weight gain. A lack of the appropriate amount of sleep appears to heighten cravings for high-carbohydrate foods and high-fat foods.
What Can You Do?
Here are some starting points for ensuring you are getting a great night’s sleep…
- Be objective. Don’t kid yourself about your own habits.
- Ask those around you if, they notice things like restlessness or snoring while you are asleep.
- If you suspect a sleeping disorder like sleep apnea, visit your dentist, orthodontist, doctor or other practitioner to get tested
A great night’s sleep can improve your life – and even save it!
WebMD contributor, Camille Peri, provides research on 10 issues you can prevent by getting a great night’s sleep:
10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss
2. The “Dumb-Down Effect”
3. Serious Health Problems
4. Sex Drive
8. Weight Gain
9. Risk of Death
10. Judgement Impairment