Getting some rest and sleep after a long day is essential for all human beings from every age group to prepare the body for the next day of exhaustive work. After functioning continuously, the body needs some time to recover and carry out certain processes in the body.
However, most of the time, working late hours disturbs the sleep patterns. Every other person with a job or school, according to studies, gets half of the amount of sleep the body requires.
With modern days lives becoming increasingly difficult and work load, the significance of sleep has been sidelined. For example, a higher quantity of work means a person is more likely to spend a night out rather than staying in on weekends.
Thus, the compulsory 6-7 hours of sleep are not even completed on the off days. Teenagers and young adults are the ones having this kind of a routine.
Other times, some people are unable to fall asleep for more than two hours continuously because of varying factors. The most common reasons are disturbed hormone cycles, a poor diet lacking nutritional value, and stress.
Loss of sleep has been on a rise due to these reasons in recent times. Statistically, there has been a rise in the number of people suffering from disturbed sleep patterns for different reasons as well as from sleep disorders such as insomnia.
For some seriously disturbed sleep patterns that have already affected other functions of the body, people tend to seek professional medical help. In less risky cases, further advancements in the patterns can be effectively avoided at home.
Why is Sleep Important for the Body?
Sleep allows some time to the body to heal itself and carry out some of the processes it is unable to when the person’s mind is conscious. According to NYU Langone Medical Centre, sleep deprivation can play a big role in losing health and immunity.
The worst part about it is that one would not be able to tell the effects of sleep deprivation have already begun till it gets so bad that the signs are clearly observable on the person suffering’s health and mood.
- The effect of sleep on your weight
Perhaps the most visible effect of lack of sleep is the fast weight gain. A study in American Journal of Nutrition showed that sleep can be a factor behind the inability to lose extra pounds in the body. How does it work?
It is because the hormones that control appetite and metabolism are also the managing hormones of sleep patterns. There are two main hormones that control your hunger- Ghrelin, and Leptin. The former signals the rise of hunger and the latter signals for when more food is not needed.
A person who does not get enough sleep will have a higher production of Ghrelin than Leptin. Hence, hunger pangs and intake of more than needed calories will be seen in this person’s lifestyle.
In addition, sleeping for the recommended 6-7 hours for adults or 8-9 hours for children 12 and below saves from an extra consumption of 400-600 calories at night.
- Memory boost
While the body in an unconscious and in a state of rest, the brain is still actively carrying out various functions, though these functions are not similar to the everyday ones and are involuntary, built-in mechanisms.
One of these functions is the re-sorting and storing of different things a person might have tried or learned the day earlier. For example, the information after reading a book or studying for exams.
Maybe this is why getting proper sleep before attempting an exam is always enforced upon by most of the parents on their children. It is true that going to bed early will make the brain remember everything studied earlier rather than staying up and revising continuously.
While sleeping, the brain decides what to store and what to forget according to the thoughts of the person when learning the specific thing.
Sleep deprivation will often send the brain into an overload of information. Consequently, the person will forget the quantum physics formulas or the aerobics moves that he tried to learn the day before.
- Mental health and mood
The link between the amount of sleep at night and the mood the next day is well-known by a good number of people. It can be easily seen that the people who have had fewer hours of sleep the night before are more easily distracted and cranky than others.
Secondly, the work performance of a person with a healthy sleep routine and a person without one will greatly differ. Not only will the first one work better but also faster in comparison with the second.
Mental preparation and rest are needed to start the day with a fresh mind and remain concentrated on whatever it comprises of.
Moreover, sleep deprivation for a prolonged time can begin causing adverse effects on the mental stability and health. Researchers have drawn links between severe depression episodes and lack of sleep.
- Immunity and strength
The aforementioned connection between sleeping habits and immunity of the body is one of the fundamental reasons for going to bed early as it cannot be replaced with any therapies, medication or afternoon naps.
During sleeping, the body is able to undergo processes that it cannot during the active hours of day time. One such procedure is tissue growth, especially in the case of injuries.
For example, if a person has recently been in an accident or is especially suffering from chronic pain due to any injury, getting a good amount of sleep will aid in fast recovery as well as soothing the pain.
Something as little as cramps and sore muscles from a workout is bound to recover during inactive hours of sleep.
Secondly, in accordance with Loyola University Medical Centre, the body produces an increased number of white blood cells when a person is asleep to defend itself from foreign invaders and toxic particles.
- Heart and Cardiovascular system
The resting hours for the body may also be good for your heart according to recent studies. The balance of blood pressure during sleeping gives the heart a break from working and pumping blood all day long.
Other benefits of sleeping on the heart include reduced chances of heart diseases, blood pressure and blood glucose problems. Since the body produces a lesser amount of stress hormones, the inflammation in it may be lessened after a good night’s sleep.
What to do in case of Disturbed Sleep Patterns?
There has been a massive amount of people who suffer from trouble and lack of sleeping in comparison with the people from a decade ago. The reason behind this huge rise can vary from person to person. Often, people do not even know if they are ignoring the importance of sleep themselves or having trouble before going to bed.
Therefore, the first step in fixing the sleep patterns is identifying if sleep deprivation is caused by unhealthy habits and lifestyle or due to some unknown reason. A good way to do this is to see whether the sleep is continuous or not.
In cases of trouble sleeping, the most common symptom is waking up after every other hour when trying to sleep. This situation should mostly be dealt with by seeing a doctor as there might be an underlying cause behind it.
In case of lack of sleep, the best treatment is getting extra hours of sleep and not going to parties for once. Keeping a check on the diet is highly recommended as well. Most of the time little changes such as these can improve sleep patterns and health.