The Risk of Bad Sleep Habits on Your Health

Humans require sleep just as they require oxygen, water, and food to survive. Adequate hours of sleep are vital for the health. However, the demands of the fast-paced city life make it difficult for many of us to get adequate sleep at night.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that an adult individual should get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep at night does not just result in drowsiness and fatigue. Various studies have shown that lack of sleep leads to increased risk of various health disorders.

Sleep Deprivation and Health Risks

Our sleep needs vary as we age. We require fewer hours of sleep as we age. However, the demands of the daily life make it difficult for most people to get the required hours of sleep at night. Sleep deprivation leads to increased risk of various health disorders some of which are briefly discussed below.  

1. Diminished Cognitive Process

Sleep plays an important role in improved cognitive process. Inadequate sleep at night impairs mental processes. This leads to reduced alertness, focus, and decreased problem-solving and reasoning skills. As a result, a person’s productivity is adversely affected while performing tasks during the day. Also, impaired mental functioning increases the risk of accidents when driving or operating heavy machinery.

2. Increased Risk of Health Disorders

Lack of sleep puts a person at increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), stroke, and diabetes. Around 90 percent of the people that have been diagnosed with insomnia, or chronic inability to sleep at night, also suffer from one of these health complications.

3. Reduced Libido

Lack of sleep also has been linked to reduced libido in both men and women. Sleep-deprived people show less interest in sex due to sleepiness, stress, and depleted energy. Studies have shown that men with sleeping problems also may have low testosterone levels that lead to reduced interests in sex with the partner.

4. Depression and Anxiety

A survey conducted in 2007 of 10,000 individuals found that sleep-deprived people were five times more likely to develop depression. People with sleep problems are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders as compared to those that have adequate hours of sleep at night.

5. Premature Aging

Lack of sleep can also lead to premature aging of the skin. People that do not get adequate sleep at night develop fine lines and dark circles under the eyes. When persons do not get adequate sleep at night, it results in the release of the stress hormones. This hormone contributes to aging of the skin.

In conclusion, you should make sure to get 7 to 9 hours sleep every night. Consider consulting with a general physician for sleep therapies or medications for getting oversleep troubles. However, most of the people would benefit by making slight changes in the daily habits that result in getting adequate hours of sleep during the night.