Nowadays, sleep deprivation seems to be a silent epidemic slowly sapping the life out of us – big thanks to our modern culture of multitasking and always wanting to do more than what is humanly possible.
While you may think that missing a few hours of sleep every night – perhaps to catch up on your reading, your favorite television series, or much-needed quality time with friends – may seem harmless, mounting studies reveal otherwise.
Sleep is a crucial building block for optimal health, as it is your body’s innate rest and repair system, and a lack of it can undeniably wreak havoc on your whole physical well-being. According to a study, sleeping less than six hours per night increases your risk of high blood pressure by more than three times. According to the same study, women who get less than four hours of snooze time per night are twice more likely to die from heart disease.
Intricately tied to several biological processes in your body, insufficient sleep can also:
- Disturb your production of important hormones like melatonin
- Mess up your levels of leptin (the fat-regulating hormone) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone)
- Harm your brain by halting new neuron production
- Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production
- Elevate your stress levels
- Heighten your risk of developing serious debilitating conditions like cancer and diabetes
- Increase your overall mortality rate
Aside from that, inadequate sleep – which is proven to slow down your reaction time, impair your cognitive capabilities, and heighten your emotions – is linked to some of the biggest kinds of accidents documented throughout human history.
The devastating Chernobyl tragedy of 1986 in Ukraine is an excellent example. Millions of lives, including children and workers, were either claimed or were permanently damaged– with survivors suffering from birth defects, leukemia, cancers, liver and bone marrow degeneration, and severely compromised immune systems – as a consequence of being exposed to extremely high levels of radiation.
The reason behind this nuclear nightmare? Lack of sleep. Evidence shows that the engineers involved in the disaster had worked straight for 13 hours or more before the meltdown.
Secrets to Sleeping Safe and Sound
You’ll be amazed at how even the tiniest changes to your everyday routine can create a dramatic impact on the quality of your sleep. Try these simple and doable strategies, and see the difference:
- Take a warm bath at least an hour and a half before bedtime. The sudden rise and fall of your core body temperature will signal your body that you’re now ready to rest.
- Stop using your gadgets at least an hour before your scheduled snooze time. Electronic devices, such as televisions, cellphones, and tablets, emit blue light, which disrupts your normal melatonin production and deceives your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
- Consider your bedroom a sacred place for rest and rejuvenation. Avoid working, studying, or watching TV in your bedroom to establish a strong visual association that your bedroom, specifically your bed, is a spot for sleeping. Investing in a high-quality organic mattress is also recommended, as it will not only upgrade the coziness factor of your bed, but get rid of toxic chemicals, irritants, and flame retardants that are typically found in non-organic mattresses, which, for all we know, may be contributing to your lack of sleep as well.
About the Author:
Arrianne Nellaine del Rosario is a writer for Mercola.com. She has written and transcribed many in-depth expert interviews in the past about the effects of supplements like probiotics, true colloidal silver, and sulfur, on optimal health. Having personally experienced the nasty consequences of sleep deprivation, Arrianne now makes it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.