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
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?
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).
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
- 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.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Oct 15, 2019 13:03:40 IST
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