The Miracle of Sleep: How Sleep Deprivation Can Really Affect Body, Mind and Spirit

Hayley Kadrou   |   11 - 06 - 2019

Time and time again, we hear public figures, famous faces and politicians claim they survive off four hours sleep. But as well as nodding off in the odd meeting, there are more side effects to lack of sleep than you might think.

 

Whether you find it hard to nod off at the end of the day or you pride yourself on being able to sustain late nights and early morning simultaneously, there are some side effects that play out in your day to day life – from weight gain to dulling skin – that you might never connect to missing out on precious sleep.

 

But if any of these mysterious conditions or circumstances sound familiar, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your approach to catching up on Zs.

 

How sleep can really affect the mind and body

 

Weight 

 

There are several ways in which sleeping patterns can affect weight. Studies have shown that a lack of shut-eye can be linked to metabolic disorders, demonstrating how even one night of sleep loss can have an impact on the regulation of metabolism within humans. A lack of sleep can also make us feel hungrier and/or crave sugary foods leaving us eating foods we might otherwise.

 

Complexion 

 

We’ve all heard the term beauty sleep, but just how true is it? According to one study conducted by Estee Lauder in 2013, those who struggled to get to sleep had increased signs of skin ageing and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, while other studies have shown that if the insomnia is stress related, dermatologic problems such as acne, brittle nails or thinning hair could occur. So if you’re drinking enough water and investing in all the right creams to no avail, maybe it’s time to look at your bedtime routine instead of your bathroom cabinet.

 

Focus

 

We don’t need to tell you that focusing on one task when sleep deprived is no easy feat. But it’s not just tiredness kicking in that can make getting from A to B feel like a pilgrimage. A study by Michigan State University (the largest experimentally controlled study on sleep deprivation to date) shows just how detrimental it can be, showcasing examples from bakers adding portions of salt twice to surgeons botching surgeries. Other studies have demonstrated that a lack of sleep can connectivity between neurons in the hippocampus (the brain region associated with learning and memory) and even accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s.

 

Mood and happiness

 

There may be a reason why when we’re feeling blue we feel like all we want to do is sleep – even if our mind and body are conjuring all kinds of methods to keep us awake at night. Getting a good night’s sleep contributes to good mental wellbeing in many ways, and can even help adults feel more ‘in control’ of their lives, fending off negative emotions. Even one night of bad sleep can lead to stronger and more negative reactions to daily occurrences such as being stuck in traffic or spilling your morning coffee.

 

All studies sources from ScienceDaily.com.

 

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