Ahmad Chehade, PharmD. Candidate
The saying of “get a good night’s rest” is but a mere myth to more and more individuals who are fighting the status quo of sleep, and determined to exploit as much time as they can from the 24 hour day. The sad truth is, we are all a victim of this behavior, and while it is more common for some, for others it is the norm. But what’s so important about sleep? Why is it that we need this so-called “good nights rest”? Isn’t sleep just a buffer that we put our bodies through for several hours a night, where we are wasting valuable time that could be spent studying, working, or who knows; cracking the untold secrets to the universe? Well, not exactly.
Besides dogs, sleep is truly man’s best friend. For those of you who pull the occasional all-nighter, you may not feel the substantial effects that sleep deprivation has on the body, but what if I told you consistently depriving your body of sleep can lead to unfavorable outcomes to your basic functioning? Today we discuss how sleep deprivation can affect the body in three major ways: physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The human body is truly an awesome machine, but like any well-tuned machine it needs its maintenance, or else things start going wrong. Beyond the yawn, there are extensive physical effects that can occur due to a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections as a result of less active immune protecting cells, called natural killer cells 1. Also, ongoing sleep deprivation has been found to result in an increased risk of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease 1.
We’ve all been cranky when we’re feeling tired; saying things we don’t mean, and being less attentive to those around us. But what happens when you’re in a constant state of “cranky”? Does this become your norm? It’s been discovered that consistent sleep deprivation results in a greater risk of depression, anxiety, and irritability 1.
Our Mental Acuity
Now, it’s understandable to have to pull some late nights studying for a test or meeting a deadline at work. But when this becomes a habit, not only is our memory and focus affected but our judgment making skills as well 1. Not only do we put ourselves at risk, but we put those around us at risk when we place ourselves in situations where we are not entirely aware of our surroundings.
Of course, we know not everyone means to deprive themselves of sleep. Health issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and an overactive bladder can all affect the quality of rest we get on a nightly basis. What is important to recognize is that lack of sleep is a health condition that requires attention. As always, feel free to reach out to us regarding any questions or inquiries you may have at email@example.com