Have you slide into a habit of spending late nights to binge-watch your favourite K-drama series? Your mornings are now lethargic, cranky and you are having trouble concentrating on your daily tasks. The effects of sleep deprivation are real and getting less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep can lead to dire health consequences. Some noticeable symptoms of sleep deprivation include excessive sleepiness, daytime fatigue and mood swings. A poor slumber can cause significant damage to your mental and physical health. Let us tell you how.
Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
1. Decrease in workout performance and immunity
An article by Everyday Health shared that sleep gives our body time to recover, conserve energy, repair and build up the muscles worked during exercise.
After we have torn ourselves up during a hard workout, the growth hormone in our body helps us build lean muscle and helps our body repair. In addition, growth hormone which is essential for athletic recovery, is produced in our body when we get sufficient good quality sleep.
As a result, when we are lacking sleep, we might be sabotaging our own fitness goals as our body takes a longer time to recover from the post-workout aches and soreness due to the lack of growth hormones being produced.
Long-term sleep deprivation also increases our risk of contracting chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease as a lack of sleep can increase our body’s insulin resistance, causing the level of insulin in our body to increase.
2. Higher tendency to overeat unhealthily
Have you ever wondered why you are unable to achieve your goal of losing weight despite keeping to your daily fitness routine? There are different reasons behind this issue and one of the reasons could be due to your lack of sleep.
According to Sleep Foundation Organisation, a lack of sleep raises the blood level of a lipid known as endocannabinoid in our body, which increases our hunger for specific types of food such as cookies, candy and chips.
In our body, there are two hormones which help regulate hunger namely, ghrelin which stimulates appetite and leptin which decreases our appetite. When we are sleep deprived, the level of ghrelin in our body spikes and the level of leptin falls.
Thus, our tendency to overeat becomes higher as our hunger increases and this might lead to obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases in our body.
3. Unable to focus and memory loss
Remember the times when your mum chased you to go to bed the night before your examination? Guess what, your mum is right. Getting sufficient sleep helps to improve our memory and allow us to stay focus to increase work productivity.
As we sleep, changes in our brain are being triggered and this solidify memories - strengthening connections between brain cells and transferring information from one brain region to another.
While we are asleep, memories and skills are shifted to the brain regions which are more efficient and permanent, helping us achieve higher proficiency the next day.
Improve the quality of your sleep
A normal level of stress is said to be useful in motivating us to work harder for better improvements and it can actually be good for the body. However, when we overwork during the day, we start to be overly stressed and this prevents us from having a good sleep at night as we are unable to calm our thoughts before bed time.
Here are a few ways we can try to lower our stress level for an improved sleep quality.
1. Be exposed to more daylight
A recent study has shown that workers who are exposed to sunlight or bright indoor lights during the morning hours sleep better at night and tend to feel less depressed and stressed than those who don’t get much morning light.
Those who were exposed to more light between 8.00am and 12.00ppm, have a higher tendency to fall asleep quickly at night and have fewer sleep disturbances as compared to those who are exposed to lesser light in the morning.
Hence, lift the curtains and let the light in!
2. Gear up for a good sweat
As we exercise, endorphins are released into our body and this helps in relieving our stress. As stress is being reduced, our mind and body is in a more relaxed state which improves our sleep at night.
However, it is advised for us to avoid strenuous workouts in the late evening or right before bed as the boost in our body temperature during the cardio workouts, along with their stimulating nature, tends to interfere with our rate of falling asleep at night.
The best recommended time to exercise will either be in the morning or afternoon.
As we exercise in the afternoon, our body temperature rises for about four to five hours and after that our core temperature decreases. This signals that our body is beginning to shift into sleep mode.
Light pre-bedtime movements such as simple stretching or yoga help us unwind and relax for a good night sleep. Thus, be wise in choosing the time to exercise!
3. Reduce On Your Caffeine Intake And Late Night Snacks
We all know that caffeine helps us to stay awake hence, keep in mind to lower your caffeine intake by afternoon. In addition, it is best to reduce on our consumption of food which are high in sugar and carbohydrate when it is close to bedtime as it can wreak havoc on our blood sugar and energy levels, causing our mind and body to be more awake.
4. Get the right mattress
Based on the polls by the National Sleep Foundation, 9 in 10 people agreed that a comfortable mattress is important in determining their sleep quality. If you are experiencing lower backaches, it is recommended by sleep experts to go for a firmer bed.
From innerspring bed to memory foam mattresses with different firmness and support, pick the right type of mattress for yourself at Four Star, one of our First Privileges partner and enjoy 15% discount on your purchase with your Fitness First membership card!
It is never too late to start returning your sleeping habits to shape a better sleep quality for yourself.
Go and give yourself a well-deserved shut-eye tonight!
● Watson, S. and Cherney, K. (2019). 11 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#7 [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
● Mateo, A. (2018). How Sleep Affects Fitness and Vice Versa | Everyday Health. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/intimate-relationship-between-fitness-sleep/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
● Sleepfoundation.org. (2020). Why Skimping on Sleep Each Night Can Cause a Case of the Munchies. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/connection-between-sleep-and-overeating [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
● Boufis, C. (2020). How Your Sleep Affects Your Heart. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-sleep-affects-your-heart#1 [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
● Kennedy, M. (2017). Morning daylight exposure tied to a good night’s sleep. [online] U.K. Available at: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-sleep-daylight/morning-daylight-exposure-tied-to-a-good-nights-sleep-idUKKCN18E23E [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].
● Chambers, E. (2018). Stress and Sleep – How To Master Stress And Enjoy Restful Sleep Instantly - The American Institute of Stress. [online] The American Institute of Stress. Available at: https://www.stress.org/stress-and-sleep-how-to-master-stress-and-enjoy-restful-sleep-instantly [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].
● Sleep.org. (2020). What Time of Day to Exercise for Better Sleep | Sleep.org. [online] Available at: https://www.sleep.org/articles/exercise-time-of-day/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].
● Sleepfoundation.org. (2020). Improve Your Memory With a Good Night's Sleep | National Sleep Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/performance/improve-your-memory-good-nights-sleep [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].