Approximately 40 percent of people living within the United States are not getting nearly as much sleep as they should (6-8 hours each night). Initially, that might not seem like much of a big deal. But the reality is that sleep is as important to our health as eating right, drinking water and exercising.
One of the main reasons why is because while we’re resting, it gives our body an opportunity to rejuvenate itself from the wear and tear of the day. And when that doesn’t happen, it can wreak all sorts of havoc in ways you may have never thought about before.
Here are six surprising things that you may not have known about sleep deprivation. Things that hopefully will motivate you to get some much needed rest tonight—and every night that follows.
1. Sleep deprivation affects problem-solving skills
We found this picture on Entrepreneur.
When you were a child, the reason why your mom wanted you to get a sufficient amount of sleep at night was so that you would be alert enough for school the next day. As an adult, the logic still stands. Sleep is what helps all of your cognitive functions to remain alert, from concentrating, memorizing, to even solving problems. When you’re groggy and drained, you’re simply not as on top of things as you should be. Sleep helps to keep you thinking properly.
2. Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain
We found this on Women’s Health and Fitness.
Something else that a lack of sleep does is pack pounds onto your body. There are two main reasons why this is the case. For one thing, when you are sleep deprived, it can throw your metabolism way off. Secondly, it has a way of increasing a hunger hormone that you have known as ghrelin. That’s why a lot of people on sleepless nights will find themselves snacking.
3. Sleep deprivation attacks your immune system
Source: Wise Geek
If you get a lot of colds and you sleep less than six hours a night, there may be a real correlation between the two issues. When you’re not giving your body enough time to rest and rejuvenate, it’s not able to fight bacteria and viruses as effectively as it should. And that can lead to colds, contracting the flu and other ailments.
4. Sleep deprivation makes you moody
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If you’re a mom and you’ve raised a young child before, when they were crying or acting out and there wasn’t a real cause behind their actions, chances are you probably said “You must really be tired.” And you were probably right. It’s not a random coincidence that people who battle with mood swings and even depression are oftentimes also people who are not getting as much sleep as their body needs. There are studies which indicate that individuals who have sleep disorders such as insomnia are as much as five times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who don’t have sleep issues.
5. Sleep deprivation can lead to heart attacks or strokes
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A lack of sleep can also lead to wear and tear on your heart. The reason why is because sleep deprivation can produce chemicals in the body that can lead to heart disease. Plus, people with sleep issues have almost a 50 percent greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke than those who get at least six hours of rest per night.
6. Sleep deprivation increases death risk
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If nothing else caused you to consider getting some more shut eye, hopefully this point does. Sleep deprivation can also increase your risk of dying prematurely. There was an article that TIME published citing that you have four times the chance of dying younger, no matter what the cause may be, then those who sleep six or more. And if that’s not enough of a reason to turn in earlier tonight, we’re not sure anything is!