The human body is an amazing piece of machinery. It has hundreds of parts that are designed to work perfectly together so that people can function as efficiently and effectively as possible. Unfortunately, there are three things the body needs as fuel/oil to keep the body functioning at these levels. Those three things would be good nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
We see a lot of information regarding the benefits of curling up on a good mattress and getting a good night’s sleep as a way of keeping the body functioning efficiently. But in the sections below, we are going to flip the script and focus on the five ways insufficient sleep can adversely affect your life.
1. Adversely Affects Relationships
As you go through your day, you will be interacting with dozens if not hundreds of people each day. You will encounter friends, relatives, coworkers, employees, and even strangers. The way you interact with them will influence their impression of and feelings towards you.
If you fail to consistently get enough sleep, there will come a time it will affect your demeanor. Whether you intend to or not, your lack of sleep might cause you to be forgetful of important dates and events. You might be unintentionally short or angry with people, something they might find offensive. Finally, your lack of sleep might put you in a frame of mind to avoid people altogether.
2. Creating Safety Risks
Each day, you do things that require you to have some level of alertness. Do you drive a car to work? Do you work on an assembly line or perform surgeries on patients? Are you responsible for taking care of small children? If you think about it, there are things you will do all day long that could easily go wrong if you make a mistake.
Tired people make a lot of mistakes. If you were to miss out on getting enough sleep for several nights in a row, your mind and your reflexes would get slower. That is the framework that leads to creating risks to your safety and the safety of people around you.
3. Decreases Life Expectancy
We all start life with a finite life expectancy. We don’t know what that number is, but the human body operating at optimal levels in every way will still only last so long. For most of us, the goal is to keep ourselves going with some quality of life for as long as we can.
As we mentioned above, the body needs sleep for optimal health and performance. Sleep also affects a person’s longevity. If you are getting insufficient sleep, your body is not going to stay healthy. As the ailments pile up, your life expectancy has the possibility of going down.
Some researchers have laid claim to the fact that people who fail to get at least five hours of sleep a night could see their life expectancy drop by as much as 15%. If your healthy body would last until you were 80 years old, consistently getting insufficient sleep could potentially put that number closer to 68 years old.
4. Bad Sleep Can Lead to a Bad Immune System
Your immune system operates based on your heart health and the flow of blood through your system. If you don’t get enough of the right blood cells flowing through your body, you become more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
And yes, the way you sleep does affect your heart health. If you fail to get enough rest on a regular basis, your body will start breaking down, forcing your heart to work a little harder. That only serves to weaken your body function and lower your immune system. A weak immune system can make the common cold a dangerous adversary.
5. Bad Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
If you have been adding on pounds recently, you might want to place the blame on your eating habits and or lack of exercise. What if someone told you that your mattress wasn’t supporting your weight, and this was leading you to not get the rest you needed? Many people do not take the time to connect the dots between how they are sleeping and everyday life problems.
It’s quite possible that the core reason you are gaining weight recently has something to do with you getting insufficient sleep.
If you feel tired, you won’t be in the mood to get the exercise you need. If you were to get lethargic enough, you might cease all kinds of physical activities. As the amount of energy you burn drops, so does your capacity to burn off calories and carbohydrates. If you take in the same amount of food but burn off less than what you take in, that might be the source of your weight gain. Where did it start? It started with your inability to get sufficient sleep.
The human body has the capacity to do some amazing things, but we need things like exercise, sleep, and good nutrition to allow our bodies to continue to have that capacity and ability. And while it’s easy to pinpoint things such as weight gain and lack of exercise as the source of our problems, lack of sleep is something that can also be the source of such problems. So as you contemplate the difficulties you are having in your life, ask yourself if you are getting enough sleep every night.
Featured Photo by Wynne Neilly from Burst