Sleep is complex process that is essential for the rejuvenation of the body and mind. Without a full night of sleep, your body and mind are deprived of the essential elements needed to help you stay alert during the day and enjoy good health.
Stages of sleep
This is where you find yourself floating in and out of consciousness. You may be partially awake when your mind begins to drift off.
At this stage, your heart rate begins to slow and the core body temperature decreases. Your eye movement stops and brain waves slow with the occasional burst of waves. Your muscles begin to relax.
Stage 3 & 4
This is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep. Your muscles are relaxed and it may be difficult to awaken you. If someone wakes you up, you will most likely be disoriented and groggy after waking up.
This is the stage where you experience rapid eye movements (REM). Your breathing becomes shallower and irregular while the heart rate and blood pressure rise from the levels they were in previous stages.
Your mind is brain is bursting with activity and it is at this stage that dreaming occurs.
Consequences of not getting adequate sleep
1. Reduced concentration and productivity
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. When you haven’t slept enough, you are likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness, tiredness and lethargy.
This could lead you to make mistakes at work, including causing accidents due to poor memory and lack of focus.
2. Increased risk of chronic diseases
Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Insulin controls your blood sugar level. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Inadequate sleep also affects processes that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, including your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart.
3. Reduced immunity
During sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines which helps fight bacteria and viruses that could harm your body
4. Weight gain
Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness.
Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The instability of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night.
A lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain by making you feel too tired to exercise.
5. Lack of sex drive
In addition to a bad mood, sleep may also affect hormone your levels, which may cause changes in desire and arousal for sex. As a man, you will experience lower levels of testosterone, which results in a low sex drive.
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