How important is sleep to health?

A recent survey conducted by Harvard Medicine School, found out that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night. This is especially common in school going kids. High-schoolers and college students are under the pressure of homework, tests, exams, etc, they are forced to cut their sleep time in half. The concern with this problem is chronic sleep loss. Chronic sleep loss can contribute to problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, immune deficiency and many more. Here are a few important reasons to make sure you get your full eight hours at night. 

Learning and Memory

Sleeping helps the brain commit new information to memory involving the process of memory consolidation. This is extremely important for students, if they want to preserve the knowledge and information that the learned throughout the day. Many students believe that in order to retain what they learned they must study for long hours at a time but that is actually not true. Studies show that students who slept longer performed better on tests than students who did not. 

Metabolism and Weight

Chronic sleep deprivation is the third leading cause for weight gain. It affects the way our bodies store and process carbohydrates. It also alters the levels of hormones that affect our appetite. This is one of the minor problems caused by sleep deprivation when compared to the others. 

Mood

Everyone knows that if you don’t sleep enough at night, you are not going to be in a good mood in the morning. Sleep loss results in impatience, irritability, loss of focus, and mood swings. Sleep can also leave you tired to do things. We feel this way after lack of sleep because chronic sleep deprivation affects our hormone balance.

Cardiovascular Health and Disease

Sleep disorders have a direct relationship with hypertension, irregular heartbeat,  increased stress hormone levels. This is because sleep deprivation alters immune function, making us prone to get sick more easily. It is proven in multiple studies that keeping up with sleep prevents most types of cancer.

-Sanaa Dalvi

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