Better Sleep for Better Health
By Arham Baid and Shruti Maheshwari
Ever wondered why we spend one-third of our lives sleeping?
It’s not just about the escape it provides or a safe spot on those cold nights, sleeping is important for all aspects of our everyday lives - from thermoregulation to your best idea ever. Learn about 11 other ways that sleep deprivation on even ONE night can impact your future.
1. Caffeine is a myth
Caffeine helps you feel awake, but it further exhausts your body.
Throughout the day one’s need for sleep keeps increasing which leads to your cells growing tired. Caffeine masks this signal of tiredness from the brain making us think that we can push ourselves further.
Essentially, caffeine overworks our tired cells which significantly decreases their productivity and also makes us forget key details of what we have already learned throughout the day.
2. Become more creative
Did you know sleep increase insight by as much as 3 times of what is normal?
Sleep abstraction connects not only what we have learned that day, but also connects these fragmented pieces of information to what we have learned throughout our lives.
Be it the periodic table, the light bulb or even the Beatles they all had their eureka moments due to healthy sleeping habits.
Remember to get enough REM sleep, you never know how those wild ideas may manifest into the next big thing!
3. Hone your reflexes
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to ride a bike or typing a paper, sleep drastically improves our performance on procedural tasks.
Famous athletes like Roger Federer have reported sleeping for 11.5 hours as their daily average to enhance their performance on the field.
The scientific community supports this argument and has carried out experiments that time spent sleeping and not time spent overall, leads to enhanced visual and motor skills.
4. Remember your cousin’s girlfriend’s dog’s birthday
There is a simple task which can give you the superpower of a brilliant memory, you guessed it right - it is sleep.
Sleep helps consolidate our memories and help us retain information for longer periods. Consolidation happens in the last phase of our sleep when we are undergoing slow-wave sleep. Therefore, if you think waking up earlier and compromising on that last quarter of sleep to cram for your exams is a good idea, think again. The consolidation of what you’ve already learned might won’t occur and we might not retain the information from the previous day.
Excessive sleep deprivation can affect memory in severe ways - leading to diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia in the future.
5. Say no to cancer
Our bodies have natural killer cells that provide resistance against cancer and fight abnormal growths. When we are sleep deprived (4 hours of sleep a night), the number of these natural killer cells decreases by 70% making us highly susceptible to cancer.
Take a moment to consider how much you’re risking your health daily when you pull all-nighters.
Is it worth it?
Small steps to improve your sleep can not only help in daily productivity but can also save lives.
6. Don’t put on that extra weight
We’ve all been there, binging at midnight on chips and cookies and wondering the next day why the salad isn't working.
A lack of sleep can cause an imbalance between hormones that control our hunger. It not only decreases the hormone that makes us feel full but also increases the one that makes us crave a greater quantity of food to feel satiated.
It has been observed that people who sleep less have an increased appetite for unhealthy (fatty food) which takes a toll on their weight.
7. Does diabetes stem from sugar?
It is a common misconception that sugar is the only/main cause of diabetes. In addition to the other factors that can lead to diabetes, sleep is a major one. Inadequate sleep can impair our glucose tolerance making it hard to excrete out the extra glucose from our body. If poor sleep persists for more than a week,a person’s tolerance level would probably be similar to someone who is diagnosed pre-diabetic.
So if you want to prevent complications at later stages of life, a few hours longer in bed is a comfortable price to pay!
8. Disasters can be prevented
Heard about accidents on the highway or near your home, chances are they occurred because the driver was sleepy. And no amount of loud music is going to keep them awake.
Sleep deprivation causes a person to enter a state of “microsleep” which involves a lot of lapses in attention. These lapses in attention have really serious consequences.
One of the real-life examples of these consequences is seen in the medical industry where it is commonplace for medical interns to work long hours. Medical interns working 30-hour shifts report 170% increased chances of major surgical error.
9. Put a hold on your cold
Can you remember the last time when you couldn’t stop sneezing?
I am sure you can!
Poor sleep might be the reason behind that non-stop sneezing. A healthy sleeping routine can strengthen our immunity cells and make us three times more prepared to deal with the common cold the next time it tries to strike us.
10. Sleep is indeed beautiful
Have you ever wondered why on some days you magically look more vibrant than on others?
Beauty sleep is real!
Studies have shown that a person with a good night’s sleep looks significantly more attractive and healthy.
So the next time you wake up and see yourself in the mirror say good morning to a healthy you.
11. Feeling low? stress is linked to your sleep
Have you recently had a blue phase?
Don’t know what is affecting you so much?
Sleep deprivation is linked to low and moody episodes which can escalate and even lead to depression and hallucinations. Multiple studies throughout history, in humans and rodents, have shown extreme fluctuations in mood and is directly caused by sleep deprivation.
Ever wondered why there is no Guinness world record for longest hours awake anymore? Time to google Peter Thiel.