Ideally, everyone should sleep a minimum of 8 hours each night, but unfortunately for most it is hard to do, especially if you have a newborn at home. Insufficient sleep has an impact on health:
- The balance and reflexes of movement deteriorate
According to a 2018 study, insufficient sleep can result in deterioration in movement balance. Without it, the central nervous system is unable to synchronize with other essential physiological processes, such as the visual system. Another study found that after 17 hours of no sleep, people were functioning as if they had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. After 20 to 25 hours, that number increased to 0.1.
- Weakens memory
Studies have shown that subjects who did not sleep had impaired cognitive functions, and their neurons had difficulty communicating. More precisely, their ability to categorize images and thus recall memories was reduced.
- Weight gain
In a 2006 study of 68,000 women, it was found that those who slept 5 hours or less a night gained more weight over a 16-year study period, compared to those who slept longer each night. Their risk of being overweight was also 15% higher. The reason for this is the connection between sleep and changes in metabolism.
- Increased risk of diabetes
When the body is insufficient with sleep, it compensates by releasing high levels of stress hormones like cortisol in order to keep us awake. This makes the body less sensitive to the effects of insulin, which means the body converts glucose into energy much less efficiently. Over time, it can lead to increased levels of glucose in the bloodstream, increasing the risk of diabetes.
- Weakened immune system
This is because the systems involved in the circulation of white blood cells do not function at their full capacity when the body is not resting or sleeping.
- Reduces libido
Without enough sleep, both men and women decrease their libido. For men, it is due to testosterone levels that decrease significantly when we are not asleep, and for women it is the result of reduced energy and increased irritability – a combination that is difficult to put on an intimate mood.
- The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases
Alzheimer’s disease is the result of the accumulation of amyloid-beta protein in the brain, which impairs cell function. Just one night without sleep can significantly increase the level of this protein in the brain, which means chronic sleeplessness can severely affect cognitive function over time.
- The skin gets older faster
Insufficient sleep causes sign of skin aging, such as reduced elasticity, appearance of wrinkles and reduced ability to heal from burns.
The reason is that cortisol levels naturally decrease when we sleep, and since this hormone helps to regenerate and heal the skin, the lack of sleep can significantly aggravate it prematurely.