How much sleep are you getting every night? Five, maybe six hours? Think hard about it – the answer is much more important than you think. Sleep is one of the vital things for our health. While we’re sleeping, the body and brain repair themselves, getting you ready for the challenges ahead of you.
At the same time, the brain browses through daily memories and deletes the ones that aren’t so important. This allows it to make space for new information, so if you don’t sleep enough overnight, it won’t be able to do it. Sleep affects all the organs in our body, so not sleeping can actually hurt your health.
How Does Sleep Deprivation Ruin Your Health?
Here are a few facts which show how lack of sleep affects different systems in our body:
Not sleeping properly destroys our immune system, resulting in much bigger risk of various ailments including diabetes and heart disease.
Central Nervous System
Lack of sleep has a negative effect on our central nervous system, significantly raising the risk of anxiety, paranoia, impulsive behavior and depression.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to slow digestion, insulin spikes, and weight gain. This means that it can significantly increase the risk of diabetes and excess belly fat.
Surprisingly, sleep deprivation can lead to colds, the flu and, even chronic lung ailments.
Science has proven that lack of sleep is one of the main factors behind heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
If you sleep less than the recommended hours you’ll raise the risk of hormonal imbalance, which can have unforeseen consequences in children and teenagers.
How Much Should We Sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation has sleep guidelines which depend on age. The proper amount of sleep you should be getting is 8 hours, but depending on your age, a person may need more or less. It’s normal for babies and infants to need more than 8 hours of sleep as they’re still developing, while adults and the elderly need less time to sleep. Here are the guidelines:
Babies up to 3 months: 14-17 hours
4-11-month babies: 12-15 hours
Children aged 1-2: 11-14 hours
Children aged 3-5: 10-13 hours
Children aged 6-13: 9-11 hours
Teenagers aged 14-17: 8-10 hours
Adults aged 18-25: 7-9 hours
Adults aged 26-64: 7-9 hours
People over 65: 7-8 hours
Can We Catch Up on Lost Sleep?
Getting more sleep is the ideal way of “replacing” the lost sleeping hours. Of course, this won’t happen over the course of one night – as a matter of fact, it may take days or week, especially if you haven’t been sleeping well for hours. To catch up on lost sleep, try getting an hour or two more on weekends, then increase the duration day by day.
You should NEVER drink coffee or energy drinks to stay awake. Although they might boost your concentration and instantly raise your energy levels, they will eventually disrupt your sleeping pattern over time and cause even bigger problems.