Want to find out how lack of sleep affects health? Unfortunately tired is the new normal and there is an epidemic of sleeplessness here in the UK.
Part of the problem is our perception of sleep. Many people wear it like a badge of honour about how little sleep they have got, proud of the fact they stay up until 3am working on this project or that.
They’re not seeing sleep as a productive part of the day when in truth physiologically good sleep is probably THE most important factor in determining our health and longevity.
In terms of quality sleep “A good day starts the night before!”
There are numerous studies that show how lack of sleep affects our health and can damage our immune system, making us more liable to catch colds and flu or whatever is going around.
So much happens during sleep to restore and repair the body and the mind from the wear and tear of each day. When we sleep badly or only get a few hour’s sleep, it’s no surprise that the body gets weakened and succumbs to poor health.
And it’s NOT just the amount of sleep but it’s the quality of sleep that matters.
The average person sleeps less than 7 hours per night, and this is a key cause of many of the health issues people are faced with today: fatigue, heart disease, weight gain, anxiety, diabetes, stroke…the list goes on.
Half of UK adults admit they don’t get the right amount of sleep and nearly 70% have disrupted sleep
How short-term lack of sleep affects health
Extreme deprivation over a short period
What is surprising is the immediate dramatic impact on our immune system after just one night of poor sleep.
One study showed that the efficiency of the immune system reduced by as much as fifty percent after losing three or more hours of sleep the night before.
Another study by Eve Van Couter at the University of Chicago showed that reducing sleep in a group of men to four hours a night resulted in them producing less insulin. “In healthy young men, in one week, we had them in a pre-diabetic state”.
How long-term lack of sleep affects health
Cheating sleep just a bit, everynight
This is what our society tends to do, both children and adults: Sleeping less than the recommended 8 hours per night, EVERY night.
Scientists are also starting to look at the effect the this is having on health – cheating sleep just a bit, but every night, over long periods.
One of the most important functions that occurs during sleep is replenishing the immune system.
When we get less than the recommended eight hours a night, the body is then less capable of performing all its functions properly.
We see high blood pressure, chronic illnesses, higher absentee rates from coughs, colds, flu – all founded on a poor night’s sleep and the resulting lowered immunity.
Sleep also helps us to fight off infection when we do fall ill.
Why else do we retire to bed and sleep for days when we are really ill? Conversely when we’re well, sleeping well means we STAY well.
All those same repair mechanisms we rely on when sleeping through an illness are happening each night when we are well, to build immunity and fight off disease.
But if we cheat sleep and try to get by on fewer hours, we will lose out in the end, both to chronic illness and to short term bouts of something we catch.
Sleep is the great healer.
“If you don’t make time for your wellness,
you’ll be forced to make time for your illness”
Transform your health in your sleep
If you’re looking an easy, passive solution to your sleep (and health) issues, you might take a look at Nikken’s adaptive sleep technologies.
Bring your sleep environment closer to nature with solutions that re-connect you with nature’s frequencies to create a calmer, more relaxing environment that is more conducive to deeply, restorative sleep – click here for details.
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