Do you sleep less than five hours a night? Be careful, because your health could suffer! Discover in this article the unsuspected consequences of insufficient sleep on your body and mind.
Your heart and arteries at risk
When you sleep less than five hours a night, your heart and arteries are put at risk. According to mental health expert Taryn Fernandes, “Lack of sleep leads to increased sympathetic nervous system activity, which causes an increase in heart rate, vasoconstriction and elevated blood pressure. In addition, long-term insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, stroke and heart attack.
The ravages of hormonal imbalance
Seven to nine hours of sleep is crucial to regulating your body's hormonal balance. “Lack of sleep can disrupt the normal production of hormones such as cortisol or insulin,” Fernandes points out. As a result, your appetite can become unbalanced, increasing the risk of obesity and, by extension, cardiovascular disease.
Watch your mood!
Insomnia not only affects your physical health, but also your mental health. A person who gets little sleep is more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression in their lifetime. “Lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of developing a psychological disorder, such as bipolar disorder, because it plays a crucial role in consolidating memory, regulating emotions and maintaining a stable level of cognitive functioning,” explains the doctor. Mild symptoms include demotivation and irritability.
Your immune system at half-mast
Sleeping less than six hours a night also weakens your immune system, putting you at greater risk for infectious diseases. “During sleep, the body produces cytokines, a type of protein that helps fight infections, reduce the risk of inflammation and Stress,” Fernandes admits. “Lack of sleep can decrease cytokine production, weakening the immune system and increasing vulnerability to infection.
Reduced cognitive abilities
Restful sleep is essential for proper brain function, including memory, learning and creativity. David Merrill, a geriatric psychiatrist, points out that “the glymphatic system, which is responsible for ‘cleansing' the brain, is most active during the deep phases of sleep. When it is not functioning properly, neurotoxic waste can accumulate, making the individual more vulnerable to dementia.
Increased risk of diabetes
Sleep deprivation is linked to a higher risk of developing a metabolic disease such as type 2 diabetes. If you get less than seven hours of sleep and are already diabetic, it will be much harder to control the disease. Insufficient sleep increases insulin resistance, increases hunger, makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight and diet, and can raise blood pressure.
Physical performance in free fall
“Sleep quality not only plays an important role in overall health and well-being, but is also crucial to physical performance,” says Vernon Williams, a sports neurologist. “Studies have shown that sleeping less than six hours per night is associated with decreased time to physical exhaustion, as well as reduced aerobic performance, maximal and sustained muscle strength, and increased risk of injury.”
Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining your physical and mental health. Adopting good sleep habits, such as avoiding blue light before bed, not eating large meals at night, and engaging in regular physical activity, can greatly improve the quality of your sleep and, therefore, your overall well-being.
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