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While we’ve struggled to maintain our firm grip over our schedule during a pandemic, one thing that has even more greatly suffered is our ‘sleep schedule’. It might seem very enticing to cut on sleep and spare the time for other activities, as even in our day to day lives, we’ve encountered people putting forth a sense of motivation through the help of phrases like ‘burning the midnight oil’, ‘you snooze, you lose; but the truth is sleeping a good number of hours every day is immensely important for a multitude of reasons, that many people have been and still are oblivious about. So, let’s take a look at all the potential reasoning and benefits of sleep, that you should be hearing from various experts before you could overlook this with what the masses have to say.

PREVENTION FROM GAINING UNHEALTHY WEIGHT

There have been many scientific studies that have brought out a correlation between poor sleep and weight gain tendencies. As per a research study that was conducted to mark the relation between poor sleep and weight gain tendencies, a group of men was asked to sleep only for 4 hours at night for a short course of time, and after the duration elapsed, they gained weight as compared to individuals who were taking sufficient sleep. Many studies have come to a similar conclusion and it’s also said that many sleeping disorders get worsened due to unhealthy weight gain. Whereas, weight gain is also caused due to sleep deprivation.

POOR SLEEP LEADS TO DEVELOPING APPETITE AND UNHEALTHY EATING HABITS

One of the major factors that deteriorates a person’s health and maneuvers them into developing unhealthy weight, due to lack of sleep, is increased appetite and inclination towards unhealthy eating habits. Many researchers have come to a similar conclusion when drawn inferences regarding the relationship between lack of sleep and increased appetite, that lack of sleep has influenced the eating habits of an individual, and it has increased than usual.

As per various researches, the scientific reasoning behind this conclusion is that: sleep influences the functioning of two hunger hormones, viz, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is released from fat cells and sends signals to the hypothalamus of the brain regarding the feeling of satiety/ fullness, and helps in inhibiting hunger. It’s reported that when a person fails to adhere to taking a sufficient amount of sleep, the body produces more amount of ghrelin and less leptin, which makes a person gain weight due to their increased appetite, as the satiety hormone isn’t adequately produced. 

sleep schedule, lack of sleep, benefits of sleep

GOOD SLEEP PREVENTS CELLS FROM BECOMING INSULIN RESISTANT

Sleep deprivation could potentially even lead cells in an individual’s body to become insulin resistant, and thus even making a gateway to illnesses like type 2 diabetes. Insulin hormone is essential in moving sugar from the bloodstream to cells, which can be broken down into energy. When a person is sleep-deprived, more amount of insulin is then required to compensate for the sugar left in the bloodstream, due to insulin resistance of cells. The increase in levels of insulin makes an individual hungrier and directs the body to store calories as fat.

As taken from the journal of American physiological society and quoted from the website of ‘Healthline’, “In one study, 11 men were allowed only four hours of sleep for six nights. After this, their bodies’ ability to lower blood sugar levels decreased by 40%.”

Is Getting On Your Nerve?

ENHANCED LEVELS OF CONCENTRATION AND EFFICIENCY

Good sleep is crucial to perform our routine tasks with high efficiency. Sleeping a good number of hours every day has shown positive results, in direct proportion with concentration, productivity, cognition, information retention abilities; unlike the general assumption of cutting down on sleep hours that people blindly believe to be productive. Lack of sleep is a serious issue and can lead to developing serious chronic illnesses like various heart diseases, if not monitored and rectified. Many types of research have shown that people who sleep for a good number of hours every day have shown better performances in areas of memory retention and critical thinking than people who do not.

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POOR SLEEP CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO MENTAL HEALTH

It’s been concluded through many types of research that people who’re sleep deprived due to sleep disorders or who weren’t able to get enough sleep for a prolonged period, could develop various mental health issues, ranging from acute to chronic, like initial periods of irritation, loss of concentration, anxiety to chronic issues like depression. It’s of extreme importance to analyze our sleeping schedule and rectify it by devoting a good number of hours to sleep if you’re not doing this already.

CONCLUSION

So, as per the website of ‘center for disease control and prevention (CDC), it’s recommended for teens (13-18 years) to sleep for 8-10 hours per 24 hours a day, for adults (18 to 60 years) to sleep for 7 or more hours per night, and people above 60 years of age to sleep between 7 to 9 hours per night. People need to realize that cutting down on sleep might seem productive in immediate events, but it would bring more harm than good if practiced for long. This article is meant to propagate the understanding of not indulging in sleep all day but mandatorily sleeping for the recommended number of hours every day.

BY: VRINDA TAPARIA

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