Dying to Sleep
Sleep. How can one simple action have such a big impact on a person’s live? Sleep is what gives people the power to do their everyday tasks, from walking down the stairs to picking up a fork at dinner. However even though sleep is one of the most important daily actions played out, most people do not think of this as true. Many people do not realize how badly they are damaging their bodies by viewing sleep as a meager aspect of everyday life. “Many people think of sleep simply as a luxury - a little downtime. They know they feel better when they get a good night’s sleep and worse when they don’t. But sleep actually improves learning, memory, and insight” (Peri, Camille. “Coping”). The importance of sleep is a dire subject. Sleep is to the body what water is to a garden; it not only refuels the body physically but also emotionally and mentally.
Physically, the body needs sleep. Everyone thinks that just a quick nap or lying down for awhile will equal to a good night’s sleep, but they are wrong. Lack of sleep affects people physically in two ways. It can affect them in the short run as well as in the long run.
Yes, everyone needs sleep, but that does not mean everyone needs the same amount of sleep. Most adults need around seven to eight hours of sleep with the exception of a woman going through pregnancy. Pregnant women need more sleep in the first three months of pregnancy than any other time. Babies on the other hand need at least fourteen hours of sleep daily while school-aged children need nine to ten hours. As for teens, they often need eight to nine hours of undisturbed sleep (Leach).
One short-term effect of sleep loss is the aging of skin. Many people may have noticed that they get puffy eyes and dark circles under their eyes, but it goes further than that. Eventually very defined lines and lackluster skin will follow. Cortisol is produced in extremes when one does not get sleep. This stress induced hormone is responsible for breaking down a person’s skin and causing it to lose its elasticity and smoothness. A cycle of sleep, slow wave sleep, is not met when someone does not get his proper sleep, and this causes the production of human growth hormones to decline, and without these our skin, bones, and muscles weaken and do not grow properly (Peri, Camille. “Ten Things”). Injury at work is another more common occurrence when people do not get a good sleep. The risks of injuring oneself is more than two times higher (Brues). Another short-term issue derived from sleepless nights is killing your sex drive. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and tension can be mostly at blame for this; however, lack of sleep affects the men most when it comes to this effect, for it is proven to lower their testosterone levels (Peri, Camille. “Ten Things”). Daily pain also stems from poor sleep. A research project was done where several women were awakened by force throughout the night for a couple of nights. The women that were awakened noticed abrupt periods of pain, while the other women left sleeping did not experience these episodes of pain. This is because poor sleep disturbs the body’s natural pain control, and so more chronic pain is witnessed (Leach).
“When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose” (Peri, Camille. “Ten Things”). She says this because in a recent study it is proven that a person is thirty percent more likely to be overweight if he or she does not get enough sleep. Ghrelin is one peptide that regulates appetite. Leptin is another. Ghrelin stimulates hunger while leptin suppresses your appetite. Studies show that with less sleep levels of leptin decrease as levels of ghrelin increase, and this shows how it is possible that a person is more likely to be overweight if they do not sleep well (Peri, Camille.“Ten Things”).
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