One in three of us suffer from poor sleep, with the cost of sleep not just affecting are mood and lack of focus. Sleep is as important to our health as drinking, eating and breathing; during the stages of sleep the body repairs and regenerates tissues, building bone and muscle.
There are many reasons why sleep deprivation can impair your immunity and make you more vulnerable to infections.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These certain cytokines need to increase when you have inflammation, an infection or under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these cytokines therefore infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced.
- Lack of sleep can have an effect on your cognitive and mental wellbeing
- Lead to Depression and anxiety
- Loss of sleep alters normal functioning of attention and disrupts the ability to focus on environmental sensory input
- Weakens the ability to handle reasoning (prefrontal cortex) and control emotions (amygdala) this then leads to abnormal processing of emotions.
- Contribute to difficulty to concentrate and form new memories
- Inactivity of hormones that regulate growth and appetite and instead forms an overabundance of stress chemicals such as norepinephrine and cortisol.
Long term conditions:
Heart disease: long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate and increase and blood pressure.
Diabetes: it is suggested that missing out on sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose. Sleep deprivation prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat.
Endocrine system: hormone production is dependent on sleep, interruption of sleep can affect growth hormone production.
Lifestyle and behavioural interventions:
- As most people know caffeine can contribute to sleeplessness, but alcohol and nicotine can too.
- Alcohol initially depressed the nervous system, but after a few hours this wears off and people become awake.
- Nicotine is a stimulant that stimulates heart rate and thinking process.
- Regular aerobic exercise can help with falling asleep faster and spend more time in a deeper sleep.
- Reduces stress
- Makes you physically and mentally tired
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation