The best way to relax is to get plenty of sleep. Unfortunately, though, many people choose to sacrifice their sleep in order to get more things done each day. While using a few hours of your nap time to work or study more may seem like the best way of “going the extra mile”, sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects.
Unfortunately, the disadvantages of not getting enough sleep are beyond daytime drowsiness and can’t be fixed with a daily dose of caffeine. Lack of sleep can jeopardize your safety and that of others around you or lead to serious health consequences.
Let’s take a look at how continual sleepless nights can adversely impact your brain which, in turn, could result in:
POOR MENTAL PERFORMANCE:
If you are sleep deprived, many of your cognitive responses will not function at peak levels. Your attention span, reasoning, sense of judgment and problem solving skills will be impaired when the body is not well rested. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of rest. Lack of sleep also affects the way your brain processes and stores information and you’ll tend to forget things more often. All these factors make performing effectively and productively during the day difficult.
INCREASED RISK OF CAUSING ACCIDENTS:
When your mind and body are exhausted as a result of sleep shortage, drowsiness is the usual aftermath which can increase the risk of accidents when driving, operating machines and performing various other tasks. Drowsiness slows down your reaction times and this makes it much more difficult to respond when you need to. This is why fatigue is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents on the roads today and why you should understand the importance of rest.
A few nights of missed sleep can be fixed easily with more rest during subsequent days and is unlikely to have long-lasting effects on your health. However, when you don’t sleep well for weeks, months, or even years, it will start to take a serious toll on your health and put you at a much higher risk of developing a range of health problems, including depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
It may be hard to believe that not sleeping enough can cause you to pack on some extra pounds. However, recent studies have found that shortened sleep time decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) in your body while also elevating levels of ghrelin (a hormone that induces hunger). Lack of sleep also reduces human growth hormone (a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning) levels which limits the rate at which your body burns fat. The overall result is that if you don’t value the importance of rest, you’ll be more likely to overeat and your body will burn off these excess calories at a slower rate.