Many people underestimate the power of sleep. There is both pressure and pride attached to being on the go, staying up late, and getting things done. For a few people, less sleep is somehow associated with a marker of success and hard work. Studies show that less than five hours sleep per night on a regular basis is associated with higher mortality.
Have you ever noticed that if you don’t sleep well for a few nights in a row, your mood and memory get impacted? You might feel lethargic, unable to focus, experience temporary memory loss, bouts of crankiness and more. Not getting enough sleep may lead to accidents, work mishaps, lowered productivity in the short-term along with irritability and impatience. Too little sleep can also leave you feeling tired to do the things you enjoy doing—be it in your personal life or professional life.
Not getting enough sleep may lead to unhealthy weight gain.Chronic sleep deprivation may affect the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates. It alters levels of hormones that affect our appetite aka affect a part of the brain that controls hunger. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to many health conditions such as increased risk of heart disease ,high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke and more.
Burnout and weakened immune systems can be a direct effect of not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. It essentially creates a fight-or-flight state, with increased stress hormones and release of adrenaline.
Like diet, sleep contributes to how you feel, how you act, and how you react to events in your everyday: lack of sleep can make me irritable and emotional. Sometimes, it increases my sugar cravings. Honestly, sleep-deprivation can lead to a serious illness and hospitalization.
Sleep And Immunity
Sleep helps the body heal. It allows it to repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting enough sleep. But during sleep, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when we have an inflammation or infection or when we are under too much stress. Lack of sleep may decrease production of these protective cytokines.
Research further shows that good sleep quality can help the body fight off infection. It shows that sleep improves immune cells known as T cells. According to Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen, “T cells are basically type of immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, For example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells.”(1)
Do you see how getting proper sleep is essential if we want to stay healthy and function well throughout the day? Good sleep can leave you feeling refreshed. Sure, sleep changes as we age, so you may not feel as rested as you did when you were younger. That is why it is important to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Avoid eating or drinking within a few hours of bedtime. Keep your room dark and quiet. Avoid any screen-time at least a couple of hours before bedtime. When it comes to health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Information in this article is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Ayurveda and the information isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional. Before making changes to your diet or routine, it is recommended that you speak with your physician.
About the Author:
Sweta Vikram is an international speaker, best-selling author of 12 books, and Ayurveda and mindset coach who is committed to helping people thrive on their own terms.