Sleep is often the first thing people give up when life gets busy. People often forget what roles sleep play in our lives. In humans it has been demonstrated that metabolic activity of the brain decreases after 24 hours of sustained wakefulness. Lack of sleep can result in decreased immune system function, decreased body temperature as well as a decreased release of growth hormone. Variable heart rate increases can also be a sign of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can be a cause of weight gain, as it has been shown to alter the way our body processes and stores carbohydrates. Lack of sleep could be a cause of altered mood such as an increase in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and moodiness. Sleep has been shown to aid in the process of memory consolidation, a process in which the brain commits new information.
For myself, I am one who is guilty of giving up sleep to make room for other activity. For me, as a student, employee and mother keeping a normal schedule has become difficult, as something always comes up. Some nights I am able to sleep from midnight until 7am, where as other nights it maybe 4am before I am able to sleep yet I will be up at 6:30am with my son. I also live off of caffeine which makes it harder for me to fall asleep. Due to my work I am often 11:30pm before I even get around to cooking my dinner.
There are many things, I could do to improve my sleep, one of which is to cut out the caffeine in the evening hours. As the large amounts of caffeine prevents me from falling to sleep at a decent hour. Another thing that would help would be setting a bed time to be able to get a decent amount of sleep and maximize the use of daytime hours. A lot of research I’ve read also said eating a large meal before bed can negatively effect sleep.
The benefits of sleep have clearly been set forth by current research. While humans may have over and over again pushed aside sleep to...