5 Bioligical Consequences of Losing Sleep
Not getting enough sleep over a long period of time can have a devastating effect on your body. Learn about some of the main biological consequences of chronic insomnia and when to get help.
Losing sleep isn’t something that our brain or body can put up with for a long time.
Occasional insomnia may be associated with several things. It could be due to stress or a one-time issue. However, this doesn’t present as much of a problem as chronic insomnia.
If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep for three or more months, listen up. And if you aren’t able to get restful sleep and this is affecting your quality of life, pay attention.
The most important thing is to identify the source of the problem.
Sometimes, chronic pain, depression, sleep apnea, or a change in your circadian rhythm due to work may make it difficult for you to sleep. This issue can be treated with therapy.
No matter what, you can’t sit around and wait. If there are several days when you can’t sleep for more than three hours in a row, it would be wise to consult a specialist.
Insomnia isn’t terminal. However, it does take away from your quality of life. Sometimes, it can come from certain diseases that we can’t cure.
As surprising as it might seem, there are many problems that originate from several sleep disorders. In this article, we will talk about them.
The consequences of losing sleep
You’ve probably heard that humans need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep in order to be healthy on more than one occasion.
Honestly, though, when we’re talking about exact numbers, we should exercise a little caution. Sleeping for 8 hours at age 60 isn’t the same as it is for other ages. Also, each person has his/her own needs and gets to know them with time.
- The National Sleep Foundation claims that for those between the ages of 26 to 64, you should sleep between 7 to 9 hours per night. After 64, people usually don’t need as much sleep.
- Children should sleep between 9 to 11 hours per night. This allows their growth hormones to do their very important job.
However, there is a number you should remember, especially when you’re talking about the minimum amount of sleep necessary to function well: 6 hours.
This is because inadequate sleep doesn’t allow your body to repair itself. It also prevents your brain from performing several of its functions and your lymphatic system from doing its job of removing toxins from your body.
Let’s take a look at the main biological consequences of insomnia.
1. Losing sleep changes your intestinal flora.
It’s strange but true. The University of Uppsala in Sweden came to this very same conclusion.
The scientists in charge of the study found that losing sleep over long periods of time reduces the variety of intestinal bacteria species in your intestines.
A lack of these organisms affects your metabolic health. Remember: bad quality intestinal flora has a big impact on your health. Among other things, it can:
- Increase your insulin resistance,
- Increase your weight,
- Weaken your immune system,
- Affect your nutrient absorption.
2. Insomnia can lead to diabetes.
This is important information: losing sleep affects your glucose tolerance. This can cause you to develop diabetes.
- This is a problem that usually affects older people.
- However, being overweight and sleeping less than 6 hours per night is also associated with this problem. This has been indicated by various scientific studies.
3. Losing sleep affects your heart health.
Sleeping three hours less than you need every day can have serious effects on your heart. Imagine for a moment that for the better part of three months you only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep per day.
You might think, “I’m getting enough sleep.” But your body doesn’t see it like that.
- Losing sleep increases tension.
- It alters your metabolism. Your body develops an insulin resistance.
- Losing sleep increases inflammation. The muscles of your heart become more rigid and experience more stress.
Losing sleep, as several studies tell us, is a fierce enemy to your heart.
4. Insomnia affects your memory.
You don’t have to suffer from chronic insomnia to notice the effects that losing sleep have on you. It affects your attention, your ability to respond, and your concentration.
Your memory will be very affected if you don’t sleep enough. Every time the problem becomes chronic, it affects your quality of life.
Activities as common as maintaining a conversation, remembering phrases, or solving easy problems completely change, as several medical investigations tell us.
5. More anxiety, less sleep…Less sleep, more anxiety…
This is a devastating, vicious circle. Stress and anxiety affect the quality of our sleep. However, if the problem becomes chronic, the situation intensifies.
Your body and mind are intimately connected. Because of this, the periodic lack of sleep alters your internal balance, stressing you out even more.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Consult a good specialist to get back a good quality of sleep.
After all, “Sometimes, the solution to all the world’s problems lies in a good night’s sleep.”