The global average on the time spent on sleep is declining and India is second last on that list: Here's how lack of sleep affects your body

Not sleeping enough occasionally can leave you feeling tired, moody or short-tempered. But, regular sleep deprivation can lead to severe ailments.

Myupchar October 15, 2019 13:03:40 IST
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The global average on the time spent on sleep is declining and India is second last on that list: Here's how lack of sleep affects your body
  • According to recent statistical data, the global sleeping hours per day has decreased globally and India stands second to last on the list

  • During sleep, the fluid-filled glymphatic system eliminates unwanted toxins in the brain and rejuvenates it to work the next day

  • Sleep deprivation can also result in chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease

Good sleep is essential for good health. Good sleep also indicates good health. After all, only people who are healthy, both physically and mentally, can sleep peacefully. However, deep sleep has become a luxury today. Most of us know the importance of eight hours of sleep for our body and mind, but how many of us manage to sleep for that long every night?

Sleep statistics

According to the recent statistics presented at an international conference organized by the South East Asian Academy of Sleep Medicine (SEAASM) and Getwell Hospital in Nagpur, the average sleeping hours per day has decreased globally. What's worse is that with an average of 6.55 sleeping hours, India stands second to last on the list. With an of average 7.16 sleeping hours per day, UK tops the list, followed by Australia (7.15) and New Zealand (7.15 hours).

The global average on the time spent on sleep is declining and India is second last on that list Heres how lack of sleep affects your body

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Doctors from various nations who participated in this conference unanimously agreed that technology, increasing screen time and unpredictable work hours are the reasons behind the reduced sleep hours.

Sleeping less: how our bodies pay for it

After working hard throughout the day, the body needs good sleep to rejuvenate itself for the next day. Not sleeping enough occasionally can leave you feeling tired, moody, unfocused or short-tempered. However, regular sleep deprivation has more harmful effects on the body.

Central nervous system

Have you ever wondered why your mind feels fresh after a good night’s sleep, even if you had a bad day? This is because, during sleep, the fluid-filled glymphatic system eliminates unwanted toxins in the brain and rejuvenates it to work the next day.

The brain forms new pathways between neurons while we sleep so that we can remember the new information that we have gathered during that day. A sleep-deprived brain won’t be able to perform these functions. That is the reason why we feel clogged and unfocused after a sleepless night.

Long sleepless days and nights can trigger many severe psychological disorders like

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mania
  • Impulsive Behaviour
  • Bipolar Disorder

Less sleep leads to weaker immunity

The body carries out many important functions during sleep. For example, it produces cytokines. An important part of the immune system, cytokines help the body fight harmful foreign agents like bacteria and viruses.

Sleep deprivation can also result in chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Regular sleep deprivation lowers the T-cell levels whereas inflammatory cytokines go up (cytokines have a role in the immune function as well as inflammation). This disbalance increases the risk of developing cold and flu.

Sleep deprivation; your heart hates it

Conditions like sleep apnea and insomnia which disturb our sleep are bad for the heart. In sleep apnea, the patient wakes up several times during the night due to disturbed breathing because of blocked airways. The lower oxygen levels during sleep cause health problems like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Poor sleeping habits due to insomnia can cause severe health conditions like blood pressure and heart disease.

Sleep deprivation and disturbed digestive system

Sleep deprivation creates a disbalance in digestive hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is an appetite stimulant while leptin tells us that we are full. Sleep deprivation disturbs brain function which in turn reduces the levels of leptin and increases ghrelin levels. Overeating and night-time snacking are results of this hormonal disbalance.

Change your lifestyle and sleep better

As we said earlier, good sleep is necessary for good health. Make these lifestyle changes to get an adequate amount and good quality of sleep every night:

  • Decrease your screen time, especially before bedtime.
  • Avoid short naps during that day so that you can sleep early and properly at night.
  • Have dinner at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Stay away from stress and anxiety as much as possible.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Sleep Disorders.

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