Sleep hygiene. It’s a big topic, and for good reason.
According to the report published in 2017, American males and females average 5.75 hours and 6.15 hours respectively, qualifying as sleep deprived individuals.
The consequences of sleep deprivation have been closely studied, and proven to be linked to unwanted health concerns. Here are four of the biggest health repercussions attributed to a lack of sleep.
1. Accelerated Skin Aging.
In one study, sixty participants were split into two groups: poor quality sleepers with less than 5 hours of sleep and good quality sleepers with 7-9 hours of sleep. Both groups’ skin was examined in terms of aging, recovery rate, and overall satisfaction with appearance. The results of this study proved that lack of sleep causes accelerated aging, slower recovery rates, and dissatisfaction with skin’s appearance. These skin issues are caused by heightened cortisol levels, the so-called “stress hormone,” that surges when one is sleep deprived.
2. Weight Gain.
A study was conducted to determine if the brain’s response to food would heighten from a lack of sleep. Both the sleep deprived and control group were shown images of food while brain activation was measured. Results showed, that the sleep deprived group experienced more activation in their brain’s right anterior cingulate cortex. This means that there was a heightened response to the consumption of food, regardless of calorie content. This implies that a lack of sleep increases the urge to binge as self-discipline declines, leading to undesired weight gain and possible obesity.
3. Weak Immune System.
Your T-cells, a type of white blood cell, are the foundation of your immune system, responsible for finding and destroying harmful pathogens in the body. Researchers have found, that T-cells are impaired when one is sleep deprived because they follow a sleep-wake cycle, a circadian rhythm. This study concluded that T-cells reduce during sleep because that’s when infection or pathogens are unlikely to enter the body. On the other hand, they peak during wakefulness when the risk is higher. A separate study’s results showed that sleep deprived individuals are 5.5 times more likely to contract the common cold than those who get adequate amounts of sleep.
It has been proven that sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk for diabetes. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night is associated with Type 2 diabetes, due to an insulin resistance that can develop from lack of sleep. This deprivation has a harmful impact on glucose homeostasis, resulting in the rapid decrease of insulin sensitivity which, in turn, heightens your risk for diabetes.
Our previous statistics imply that most Americans usually suffer from some degree of sleep loss. While the result is the same, underlying causes may vary between stress, too many activities, sleep disorders, or something else. At Puriya, we’re passionate about sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits.
Here are two tools we recommend for you to improve the quality of your sleep at night:
The first tool is sleepyti.me. This free web app follows your REM cycles to calculate what time to wake you up feeling rested and refreshed. This tool is especially helpful when you have less than 7 hours to sleep because you’ll be more likely to wake up naturally making up for the decreased hours. Sleepyti.me wakes you up when you’re in light sleep, to avoid disrupting your deep sleep which may cause drowsiness and irritability.
The second tool is Relax and Sleep Well, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the App Store. Developed by Glenn Harold, a best-selling, self-help audio author, this app uses hypnotherapy to put you in a deep state of mental and physical relaxation, to aid you in falling asleep.
We wish you a deep and relaxing sleep every night with the help of these tools.