How you sleep can have a drastic affect on your health.
Over the past decade a lot of emphasis has been put on getting exercise and eating right. But, according to researchers if you’re not sleeping right you are still putting your health a risk.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation not only affects a person’s ability to concentrate and be alert, loss of sleep can also increases an individual’s risk for diabetes and obesity. Sleep loss also impairs the body’s immune system.
According to a 2003 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of Americans report frequent sleep problems. But in order to understand how to get better rest, it is important to first understand what scientists consider to be an adequate amount of sleep.
Determining how much sleep your body needs is not, unfortunately, an exact science. Not even researchers are not in agreement on how much sleep is needed. What has been determined, however, is that the human body needs different amounts of sleep throughout a lifetime.
What is also known is that sleep loss does accumulate over time. Studies have shown that a person who has consecutive days of too little sleep causes sleep loss symptoms to get worse and worse.
The first signs of sleep loss include feeling tired, experiencing a lower level of mental and physical ability and headaches. But, those are not the worst results of not getting enough rest.
Studies have shown that sleep loss has an very negative effect on the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. In one week of severe sleep deprivation, averaging about four hours of rest per night, tests showed that a healthy and fit person fell into a prediabetic state. That change came as a direct result of metabolism disruption.
Sleep loss also affects the body’s stress hormones. For example, in a person who gets enough rest, stress hormone levels drop as evening approaches. This reduction allows the body to relax and prepare to sleep. However in an individual who is suffering from sleep loss, those hormone levels remain elevated.
The immune system is also weakened by lack of sleep. According to researchers, the amount of antibody a body can build may be affected by as much as 50 percent in cases of chronic sleep loss.
Over the next several weeks the Star Valley Independent will feature a news series about sleep. The articles will focus on what loss of sleep can do to the body, the side affects of using sleep aides, the many hazards associated with sleep deprivation and driving and how to achieve better sleep.