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Why do we need to sleep? We are putting ourselves at risk in many ways when we compromise our sleep and we can see some of the problems below.

This is what happens if we are not getting enough sleep:

  • Increase risk for development of depression and anxiety and increase negative mood states like irritability and crankiness

  • Increased risk for high blood pressure

  • Increase blood level of C-reactive protein, a sign of inflammation. High levels of this protein may increase risk for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries

  • Increased risk of diabetes: sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite and weight control

  • Increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

  • Increased risk of car accident and work errors

  • increased risk of miscarriage for women who works nights and tend to lack sleep

Sleep deprivation also

  • Makes us more sensitive to pain

  • Causes poor academic performance in students

  • Impairs focus and concentration

  • Weakens immune system: During sleep, our body make more cytokines that help the immune system fight various infections.

  • Impairs short and long term memory and trouble remembering things

Lack of sleep also decreases releasing of growth hormone, which is a key factor for growth in children and for repair of cells and tissues in both children and adults. Sleep also impacts the release of sex hormones that also contributes to puberty and fertility.

Practical Points: Sleep is vital for many parts of our body and mind, and most common diseases in modern society have strong links to sleep deprivation and insufficient sleep. To have a longer and healthier life, there is no choice but to prioritize our sleep.

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