How lack of sleep affects your health
Lack of sleep is well known for causing fatigue and negatively impacting your mood. However, have you considered how sleep deprivation may affect your overall health?
The link between sleep and the immune system
Studies show that people with poor sleep quality are more likely to catch a cold or flu. The immune system is designed to keep us healthy and protect us against infections. While we sleep, the body releases certain proteins called cytokines, which are used to fight infections. When we do not get sufficient amount of sleep the production of cytokines is reduced. Lack of sleep also causes a decline in T-cells in the body, which have a vital role in the immune system. As a result, a person who suffers from sleep deprivation may take longer to recover from an illness. Long term lack of sleep is also associated with serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Impact on the central nervous system
The central nervous system is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. It combines information from the whole body to coordinate the activities across our organism. While we sleep, pathways form between nerve cells, which help us remember the information we learnt. Getting insufficient amount of sleep exhausts the brain. Focusing and learning often become more difficult. Sleepiness may also reduce our reaction rate and decision-making abilities, increasing the risk of accidents.
How does sleep affect our mental health?
Sleep and mental health seem like an endless circle. For instance, stress can result in poor sleep quality. Poor sleep quality may lead to more stress. Sleep problems are related to several mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and ADHD. Although the exact relationship between sleep and mental health conditions is not completely understood, research indicates that people with poor sleep quality are more likely to have negative thinking and emotional vulnerability. Moreover, treating sleep problems can help alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions.
How much sleep should I get?
In average adults need about 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep. However, more sleep is not always better. Sleeping more than 10 hours a day may result in poorer sleep quality, such as having trouble falling or staying asleep.
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