For your body to function correctly, it requires sleep the same way it involves food. It is during sleep that your body uses the time to heal and restore its chemical balance. Sleep disorders can significantly influence the quality of your life. When you fail to give your body adequate sleep, it impairs your mental and physical functioning. Doctors recommend a minimum of 7 hours of rest, below this, it puts a strain on you due to sleepiness.
Which are the common sleep disorders?
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Restless legs syndrome.
Below are ways in which a sleep disorder may harm your brain and body:
- It weakens your immunity
It is during sleep that the body produces infection-fighting organisms. These are the organisms that protect our bodies from infection by either bacteria or viruses. Among those produced are cytokines. These regulate sleep and enable you to sleep, thereby giving your immune system ample time and energy to defend the body against illnesses. Sleep deprivation hinders this process from taking place. This makes you vulnerable to pathogens such as adenovirus, which causes the common cold. With lowered immunity, you will also take longer to recover, even from minor illnesses.
- It impairs your memory
Sleep disorder will make it hard for you to process and remember information. Research shows that sharp-wave ripples, which are brain events, consolidate memory. These mostly occur during the deepest sleep phases. They transfer new data from the hippocampus to the neocortex in the brain, i.e. the storage of long-term memories. Hence, sleep deprivation renders a person more forgetful. Study shows that sleeping shortly after learning new information aids in memory retention.
- Sleep deprivation impairs your mental health
This is mainly in terms of concentration, creativity, and mood. Sleep plays a crucial role in thinking and learning. A sleepless night will make it difficult for you to focus and pay attention. This affects your performance either in school or at work. Besides, it lowers your reaction time, making you prone to causing accidents. Also, lack of sleep reduces your innovativeness and problem-solving abilities. A couple of consecutive sleepless nights will make you highly irritable and moody.
If the sleep deprivation continues for longer durations, hallucinations start to kick in. In people with Bipolar disorder, it may trigger mania.
- It lowers your sex drive
The production of hormones is dependent on your sleep. Sleep deprivation contributes to lower libido levels in both men and women. This is mostly because a lack of sleep will deprive you of energy, making you fatigued and losing interest in sex. The combination of low energy and increased tension leads to sexual dysfunction. Additionally, obstructive sleep apnea in men, which interrupts the breathing patterns of an individual, is likely to lead to low libido and sexual drive. Sleep apnea is usually associated with low testosterone levels in men. To ensure that sleep does not mess your sex life, purchase Zopiclone, which will aid in boosting your hormone levels as well as regulating your sleep pattern.
- It ages your skin
One of the principles of the beauty industry and one they value is the need for sleep. Sleep deprivation makes your skin to develop fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduces its elasticity. This is mainly because lack of sleep denies your skin the chance to repair itself after a day of exposure to environmental toxins and even the sun.
When one doesn’t get enough sleep, the body releases cortisol which is a stress hormone. In excess levels, cortisol contributes to the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is the protein responsible for keeping the skin looking young, smooth, fresh, and elastic. Thus, the overproduction of cortisol contributes to premature aging.
Also, if you don’t sleep, the body releases little growth hormone. This growth hormone is responsible for cell production, thereby thickening it. All this leads to accelerated skin aging.
- It increases the chances of you becoming obese
Lack of enough sleep may make you gain weight quickly. Sleep affects the levels of the hormones that control hunger and fullness i.e., leptin and ghrelin. Leptin signals to your brain that you are full. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is the hunger hormone, signaling to your mind that you are hungry. Lack of sleep throws these hormones off balance as the brain reduces leptin levels while it increases those of ghrelin. This then increases your chances of overeating and snacking up late at night. Additionally, lack of sleep makes your body to produce higher insulin levels. Higher insulin levels lead to increased fat storage and risks for getting type 2 diabetes.
Sleep is vital for your emotional, mental, and even physical health. Severe sleep deprivation as a result of sleep disorders may contribute to fatal consequences such as complications of cardiovascular health. Therefore ensure you strike a balance between your work hours, school hours, and sleep hours. Caffeine and energy drinks may help you to stay awake, but they eventually mess with your sleep-wake pattern. If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder, consult a doctor so that you undergo a sleep test for proper diagnosis.