It may seem obvious that sleep is important for the proper function in our daily lives, but if it is such an obvious concept, why are so many people lacking the proper amount of sleep at night? Along with the innumerable health concerns that are linked with sleep deprivation, there are other, non-medical aspects of our lives that are affected by the amount of sleep we receive each night.
A recent Harvard survey found a majority of respondents slept for less than 6 hours each night and about 75% of us have troubles sleeping a few nights of each week.
The following are a few of the most crucial elements of daily life that are affected by sleepiness.
Memory. It goes without saying that when we’re tired, we forget some of the simplest things. The keys you just had in your hand, the glasses sitting atop your head as you fumble through your bag and who’s to say it doesn’t get more serious from there?
Mood. Waking up after a night of restlessness is bound to put anyone in a sour mood. According to the Harvard Health Publication, in many tests, individuals experiencing sleep loss showed more visible signs of irritability, impatience and the inability to concentrate.
Metabolism. Because our bodies need energy to process and store carbohydrates, sleep loss can cause weight gain if we don’t sleep enough. Sleep deprivation also alters our appetites by disturbing our natural balance of hormones.
Safety. Loss of sleep increases the likelihood of falling asleep during the day and while some may enjoy an afternoon nap, taking care of our daily responsibilities can become a safety hazard if deprived of sleep. Although it seems logical enough not to drive when we’re tired, The National Sleep Foundation has reported that drowsy driving accidents account for nearly $12.5 billion in monetary losses and about 71,000 injuries each year. More information regarding these statistics can be found at www.drowsydriving.org
Immune System. In order to properly defend your body from harmful diseases, illnesses and viruses, your body must be rested. Harvard Medical School notes in their Health Publication, that “keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.”
Each person differs in the amount of sleep they need and in general most of us can function safely and effectively for sixteen hours of wake-time and 8 hours of sleep, however, there are some that rely on more hours of sleep for proper daily function. Finding the number of hours you need in order to function at your full potential is key to having a great night’s sleep. Sleeping affords you the mental acuity and overall well-being you deserve.
For more information regarding how sleep deprivation can affect your daily life, visit the Harvard Medical School Health Publications site. http://www.health.harvard.edu/