A while back I came across a video by Steve Harvey that was trending. This video summarised that you shouldn’t sleep 8 hours a day because successful people don’t.
After this video came out, a lot of people stopped sleeping for 7-9 hours a day which is the recommended timeframe for an adult.
I need you to know 2 things:
Firstly, Steve Harvey was wrong.
Second, You need sleep.
Numerous people all over the world sleep adequately and they are successful in their fields. You do not need to starve your body of sleep to become successful.
The result of not sleeping adequately over a period of time is not success, it is sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation is essentially caused by inadequate sleep over a period of time. It had dangerous consequences for your brain and body. Your body requires about 7-9 hours of sleep every day to function at its best. sleep to function effectively.
You might get away with not sleeping for some time but eventually, the strain it puts on your body will catch up with you and it can cause you to break down.
Below are some consequences of not sleeping and why you definitely need to get some sleep.
10 Reasons you should sleep
Sleep affects two hormones produced by the body namely: leptin and ghrelin. These hormones control the feeling of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells the brain that you’ve eaten enough and then your brain alerts you that you are full. Without adequate sleep, your brain reduced Leptin and increases the production of Ghrelin which increases your appetite.
This explains why you feel hungry when you stay up late and you often find yourself digging through the fridge looking for a snack.
Sleeping well helps you lose weight. It is definitely one of the pillars of weight loss.
Risk of heart disease
People who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Dizziness and poor balance
Sleep deprivation can cause dizziness and poor balance. This can be a risk while driving. If you notice that you are dizzy please avoid driving.
Adequate sleep is needed for your body to produce testosterone and growth hormones.
Sleep deprivation adversely affects your endocrine system and hormone production.
Risk of diabetes
The body’s ability to produce insulin which is used to regulate blood sugar can be distorted by sleep deprivation. It also lowers the body’s tolerance for glucose which is associated with insulin resistance.
This can lead to diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can affect your emotional state. Do you remember how cranky you were the last time you didn’t sleep for some time maybe even one night alone? Maybe you were working late or just couldn’t sleep, remember you had a short fuse and snapped at everyone all day.
That is child’s play compared to all the ways sleep deprivation can destabilize you emotionally.
You can become impatient and generally prone to mood swings. When sleep deprivation continues for a period of time, it can cause you to have hallucinations—you begin to see and hear things that aren’t real—and you will have a difficult time differentiating between reality and imagination.
In the case of people with already subsisting mental illnesses or conditions—like bipolar disorder, it can trigger mania.
It may also lead to depression, anxiety, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
Our body is designed to produce substances that fight infections—antibodies and cytokines—to fight off any bacterias or virus trying to enter the body.
Sleep deprivation can impair the body’s ability to produce these substances and effectively fight disease, this can leave you exposed and vulnerable.
If you have ever fallen ill and visited the doctor, after diagnosing and prescribing a cause of treatment she always recommends you get some sleep/rest. This enables your body to fight off the disease and helps you heal faster.
When you are sleep deprived, your brain will be slow to send signals to the body which can cause accidents.
You must have experienced reflexively ducking to avoid an object moving towards you or blinking just in time to stop that insect from getting into your eyes. It usually happens so fast and we call it reflex because we often can’t explain how we know to even bust some action figure moves and avoid danger.
Don’t even think about it, you don’t have superpowers, however, it is just the brain doing what it does best to protect us from harm.
When your body is deprived of sleep, the brain doesn’t send signals to the body as fast, causing your responses to external stimulation to become slower and subsequently leading to numerous accidents.
Accidents that could be avoided.
The body has a response to traumas we experience, it is designed to protect itself and ensure its continued sustenance and functionality.
This is the same reason people who starve themselves to lose weight actually have difficulties losing weight.
When the body realizes that it isn’t getting the food it requires it slows down the process of metabolism and barely burns any fat because it is saving for the uncertain future.
The way starving to lose weight is counter-productive is the same way sleep deprivation can cause your body to fall into microsleep—when you involuntarily sleep off for a few seconds—which can be highly dangerous, especially if you operate heavy machinery.
The body will often time shut down to get what it needs and you can avoid these episodes of temporary unconsciousness by getting some sleep voluntarily.
It can also cause trouble with thinking and concentration
Lack of sleep can make you fatigued. With low energy levels, you’ll often be sluggish and dull throughout the day.
Excess fatigue can also lead to mistakes in the workplace which can potentially put not just you but others at risk.
When you are fatigued you will not be able to exercise and this can adversely affect your health and increase weight gain.
Distorted Brain function
Lack of sleep is known to adversely affect brain function. It can disrupt the way the brain usually functions—sends signals to the other parts of the body and processes information.
When you are sleep deprived you will often lose creativity and forget information easily. The brain is essentially like a storage device that backs things up to the cloud when we are unconscious every night. This backed up information is compartmentalised for seamless operation and only comes up when you call for it. Much like our devices, without this function, we will have too much information floating around our heads which can cause mania.
When the brain fails to get the sleep required to enable it adequately process and store new information, it can lead to extreme forgetfulness and inability to retain information.
Our creativity is at its peak when we are getting enough rest, sleep deprivation can cause a lack of creativity and affect our day to day performance.
How to get more sleep
We can all agree that getting adequate sleep is important for you. If you often experience difficulties sleeping, you might be suffering from a sleeping disorder. Visit a doctor for proper diagnoses and treatment to help you sleep better and normalize your sleep pattern.
However, there are a few tips that can help you get some shut-eye at night.
- Don’t drink caffeine or caffeinated stimulants at night. They are designed to get your heart racing which keeps it on overdrive and makes you alert.
- Set alarms to remind yourself that it is time to call it a night and get some well-deserved shut-eye
- practice Yoga! Whenever I have difficulties sleeping, I practice some yoga. It gets me so drowsy that I sometimes doze off on my mat. It definitely works.
- Avoid heavy meals at night.
- Set the mood in your room so your body recognizes that it is bedtime. You can do this by putting on some soothing music, turning off the light or lighting some candles.
Generally, anything that relaxes your mind and body.
If you have any comments or questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to share. Remember, you can always talk to me.