Nowadays, the importance of sleep is getting more and more attention, since sleep deprivation is becoming a big problem in modern society. It is high time to start working on this issue and solve it, as research shows that one of three Americans starts the day in a sleep-deprived state.
It seems that we constantly need more time, and thus we end up staying up or working late. On the other hand, when we sleep enough, we wake up re-energized, so we are more productive, healthier and feel better.
Sleep isn’t just for refreshment – proper sleep affects our health on a larger scale. Get enough sleep to lead a healthier and longer life.
Due to all this, we present to you a sleep recommendation report about the amount of sleep depending on age, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and it is as follows:
- Newborns, 0-3 months: 14-17 hours
- Infants, 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
- Toddlers, 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- Preschool children, 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- School-age children, 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
- Teenagers, 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
- Young adults, 18-25 years: 7-9 hours
- Adults, 26-64 years: 7-9 hours
- Adults, 65+ years: 7-8 hours
Nevertheless, as we previously stated, we often do not sleep enough.
A team of Norwegian neuroscientists worked on discovering the issues that lack of sleep can provoke. They found that lack of sleep changes the white matter in the brain. Luckily, our bodies can repair themselves. When we get enough sleep after a night of poor sleep, the body reverses the changes in the white brain matter. However, it’s not just our brain that suffers.
Other studies on the same subject showed that lack of sleep can interfere with our genes.
However, in case of long sleep deprivation, the person may experience some long-term effects. Here are the other harmful effects of sleep deprivation:
We have problems thinking
Sleep deprivation leads to poor decision- making, weakened reasoning, slower problem- solving skills and slower reaction times, according to a study published by Experimental Brain Research.
We are all aware of the relation between sleep deprivation and weight gain. A three-year-long study of over 21.000 adults showed that people who sleep less than five hours a night tend to gain more weight, and have an increased risk of obesity.
We get sick
Studies found that there is a direct link between lack of sleep and the immune system, as sleep deprivation makes the body more prone to diseases.
We harm our heart
A new study published in the European Heart Journal linked sleep deprivation to heart disease and increased stroke chances. It was found that lack of sleep hurts our heart physically.
We forget more easily
Some studies showed that the brain consolidates things during sleeping which makes us recall easier. When we don’t sleep enough, this task becomes harder.
A study showed that individuals between 30 and 50 who lacked proper sleep experienced the effects on their skin, as they had more wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and their skin’s elasticity was reduced.
Men with less than five hours of sleep had lower testosterone levels than their normal sleeping counterparts, as found by The Journal of the American Medical Association. Their appetite for sex was lower. Moreover, their sex hormone levels were reduced by 15%.
Increased cancer risk
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Higher stated that sleep deprivation also leads to increased risk of cancer. In the study, people with seven or more hours of sleep had the lowest mortality rates in the group.