Sleep is critical to your health and well-being. Getting sufficient quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and even your safety. The way you feel while you’re awake depends largely on how well you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash or other major accident due to lack of focus), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. Sleep deprivation will affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Sufficient sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills by allowing you to be more attentive, which in turn helps you to make decisions more effectively, and helps with your creativity. For children and teens, the lack of sleep has a major impact on their learning and cognitive development. Deficiency in sleep alters activity in some parts of the brain. Its common to have trouble making decisions, solving problems, and controlling emotions with lack of sleep. Sleep deficiency over time leads to heightened chances of one developing or suffering from depression, suicide, and risky behaviors.
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. It is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Overtime, the lack of quality sleep could lead to heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep also helps your body maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that cause the feelings of hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin). Without sufficient sleep, the body’s levels of the ghrelin hormone goes up, while leptin decreases. Therefore, lack of sleep will in this way make you more likely to eat more than normal. Your body’s reactions to insulin, which controls your blood sugar level, will be affected with lack of sleep as well. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, leading to an increased risk for diabetes.
Sleep can affect so many aspects of your health and well-being. Your physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health are all directly related to the amount and quality of the sleep you give yourself every night. So make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Your body will thank you.