Sleeping good at night is as important to our general well-being as eating healthy and exercising. Deep down, everybody knows that a lack of sleep leads to feeling extremely tired, distracted and upset the next day. Despite that, when a deadline approaches, many of us stay up late or “pull an all-nighter” to complete the assignment, thinking that’s the only and right way to go.
Many researches have been conducted on the effects that different amounts of sleeping time can have on a person in many aspects. Some of the results might confirm what you may already know from experience, others might surprise you. Keep reading to find out more about this fascinating topic.
1. Poor sleep is tied to weight gain
Did you know that the sectors of the brain that control sleep and metabolism are the same ones? This means that if you’re sleep deprived, your body will alter the levels of hormones responsible for your appetite, making you feel less full and therefore leading you to eat more than you need. Moreover, chronic sleep deprivation can influence the way in which our bodies store and process carbohydrates. A Harvard study found that the part of the brain that controls emotion and behavior is hardly active in those who are sleep deprived: when asked to distinguish between high-calorie and low-calorie foods, the sleepless subjects of the study weren’t able for the most part to give the right answer.
2. Good sleep affects memory and creativity…
While you sleep, your brain never shuts down completely. In fact, it is busy working on a process called consolidation, which involves strengthening memories and going over the skills learned during the waking hours. Several studies demonstrate that people who go to sleep straight after learning a new task perform better when put to test about it on the following day. Another positive result of a good night sleep which derives from the same memory process is a spur in creativity: since while sleeping the brain reorganizes memories, it can also spark certain unpredicted associations that could encourage imagination or bring about artistic outputs.
3. …while bad sleep impairs concentration and learning.
If a good night’s sleep can enhance memory and maximize our problem-solving skills, sleep deprivation can impair our ability to learn and provoke concentration problems the next day. In the worst cases, it leads to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime which can turn into a danger for those performing delicate tasks such as medical personnel or drivers.
4. Poor sleep has effects on your health
The main focus of the research conducted in the sphere of sleep lies mostly on the effects that the excessiveness or the lacking of it has on our health. First off, it has been proven that those who sleep either too much or too little have a shorter lifespan and are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Speaking of health issues, those who sleep less are at far greater risk of heart diseases and strokes. Another lesser known fact is that when we’re asleep, our immune function works harder than when we’re awake. Many studies have found that sleep deprived people have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, which is why those who are prone to sleeping less are more likely to suffer from illnesses and infections such as catching the common cold.
5. Sleep stirs your social and emotional interactions
This might not be news for you, but now you’ll be able to say that there’s a scientific reason in support of your acting irritable, impatient, moody or unable to concentrate when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. These are some of the symptoms found by a University of Pennsylvania research in subjects who were asked to sleep 4.5 hours a night for one week. The amount of hours and the quality of your sleep have a strong impact on your mood and your general approach to your daily routine. If your brain hasn’t had enough time to rest and cool off, it will result in higher levels of stress and anxiety, which in the worst cases can lead to emotional disorders and depression.
Are you having trouble falling asleep? If so, try putting on the background some soothing music like the one in the link below.
Have you ever experienced any of these symptoms? Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the subject!