Sleep deprivation is the sneakiest way to go, and that’s scary
Pixabay Raise your hand if you love sleep? Everyone in the room, right? Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever been forced to get less sleep or no sleep at all, or voluntarily chose to do something else instead? Still everyone? Well, congratulations, you’re fucking with your health.
It’s crazy that will all the attention that pop culture and science gives to cancer, healthy/unheathy fats, dieting, exercise, etc.. no one is talking about how vitally important sleep is to each and every person. It’s right up there with air and food, and yet, it’s the first thing we’ll let slide in our daily life.
It’s not just babies that need a shit ton of sleep, we all do. Our lives depend on it.
Pixabay So, this might be a little out there, but bear with me. I think that there’s a conspiracy out there about sleep. There are countless studies, reports, and academic papers on how sleep deprivation is one of the most fatal and ignored/neglected root causes of health dangers and premature death. Yet, no one respects a person’s need for or right to a full night’s rest, conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea aren’t being taken seriously by the general public, we’re forced to start work earlier than most humans can function, and doctors don’t actually write prescriptions or issue sick notes for treatment of sleep deprivation that actually involve sleep. Drugs sure, but actual REM sleep? Please.
And yet, it’s a huge health crisis that’s impacting everyone. What the actual fuck is up with that? Let’s break down how fucked up lack of sleep makes you.
Pixabay Sleep deprivation will actively kill your body
As much as we need food and water to survive, we also need to give our bodies a chance to recharge. If you don’t, things start to break down.
People who regularly get less sleep than is required, have a 48% increase in developing heart disease, have an increased risk for high blood pressure, have a 36% increase in colorectal cancer, and lose active immunity against pathogens.
Your body literally starts to fall apart, the second you stop letting it rebuild itself adequately, and it already actively starts the first time you pull an all-nighter, suffer a bout of insomnia or start to suffer respiratory distress while trying to sleep.
The Sleep Judge It’s an epidemic that starts from a young age
Hormone production is dependent on sleep. For some like testosterone or human growth hormone, you need at least 3 hours of uninterrupted REM sleep to make the things you need to help your body grow and build a framework that’s strong enough to get through life. This is especially key for children and teens. This is why babies sleep so much.
According to the experts, after babies, teens need the most amount of sleep. Ideally, they should be getting between 10-12 hours a night. Realistically, most don’t, due to school, work and just doing teen stuff. As we get older, that habit doesn’t change. We get to work early, stress out about stuff, and sacrifice sleep for a tiny sliver of a work/life balance.
Plus, the whole concept of starting school at 8:30/9 is the worst possible thing for a growing teenager and a functioning adult, and I’ll get into that later.
Pixabay Sleep deprivation makes you stupid and unsafe
According to Johns Hopkins, over 6,000 fatal car crashes happen every year due to drowsy drivers, while 1 in 25 adults admit to falling asleep at the wheel each month. People with long-term sleep troubles actually start to suffer from micro sleep, where the body just literally shuts off for seconds to minutes at a time, like a forced reboot. This is especially bad when you’re doing something that requires you to be awake, like driving or operating heavy machinery. Hell, it’s even dangerous falling asleep in class sometimes, if that sudden micro sleep leads to a fall out of a chair, and head injury.
As well, it impairs your motor functions while you’re awake, making you clumsy and uncoordinated, leading to more falls, slips and accidents at home.
Is it still worth it to sacrifice proper rest, for one more episode of
Game of Thrones, or to beat that last boss? Or how about to finish that last report, for that status meeting at 8am?
That’s a hard no.
Pixabay Sleep deprivation rewires the brain and is tantamount to torture
I’m serious. Throughout the history of war, crime and punishment, one of the most utilized tools for torture was sleep deprivation, and it’s one of the most inhumane things you can do to a person. Not allowing someone to sleep, or suffering from a condition that makes it impossible, leads to a 33% increase in dementia risk and ages the brain 3-5 years in no time.
As well, it prevents you from forming new neural pathways, retaining memories and makes concentration impossible. In fact, there’s a interesting theory that a lot of today’s epidemic of ADHD stems from kids not getting enough rest, and their school days starting too early.
Finally, those that don’t sleep enough, are at a greater risk of depression, irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness and fuzzy thinking. In the worst cases, you also get hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and sometimes even bipolar mania. This is especially prevalent in new parents; mom’s especially.
Pixabay The less sleep you get, the more weight you gain
We all know that if you eat too much and avoid exercise, you’re gonna get fat. But, what’s not as commonly known, is that sleep deprivation is another risk factor for booming overweight and obese. Sleep controls two hormones in your body, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin, is the thing that tells you that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain starts to reduce that hormone and it, in turn, raises your ghrelin level, which is an appetite stimulant. This is why you love your midnight snacks of sweet, salty and starchy food.
On that same token, lack of sleep makes you obviously tired, ergo, too tired to exercise, and therefore, you’re not burning calories or building muscle mass. As well, your body starts to release higher levels of insulin, which promotes fat storage and increases the risk for Type 2 diabetes.
That’s puts you 50% higher risk of obesity if you get less than 5 hours of sleep a night.
So, why are we killing ourselves?
Pixabay We’re not dedicating enough time(s) to sleep
This seems obvious, at first, but there’s a key thing that researchers are now just discovering. We’re not meant for a solid night of sleeping. In fact, we should be sleeping in two 4-6 hour chunks. They found that having two sleep periods led to “two periods of increased activity, creativity and alertness across the day, rather than having a long wake period where sleepiness builds up across the day and productivity wanes.”
Once upon a time, this was the norm, believe it or not, and in Spain and other Latin countries, you’ll find that they take a 2-3 hour siesta during the day to rest/sleep, get shit done, then go back to sleep later at night. Our body clock naturally lends itself to this, because of a reduction in how alert we are in the early afternoon.
But we all know that taking a nap in the middle of the day is impossible here in North America and that’s where the sneaky conspiracy comes in, in my opinion.
Pixabay There’s no legitimate scientific reason for 9 am starts, and it’s harming us
Did you ever wonder why we have to be at work at that time or why school starts then too? We all do, and there’s really not legit reason for it. It just happened. According to THIS (and other related articles), we can’t fight our natural sleep patterns and body rhythms, and the academic/corporate culture doesn’t account for that. By and large, most of us aren’t morning people, and fighting our internal biological clock does more harm than good.
In fact, disregarding a workers preference for work hours results in decreased productivity and creativity, and makes them miserable. And yet, we’ve sold the best 8 hours of our day to corporate life, then we go home and tell sleep to fuck off, so we can
try to have a life outside of the office.
Can you imagine how much better the world could be if everyone’s who’s been forced to perform from 9-5 over the past 50 years, got to work between the hours
they were most awake, alert and creative? Or didn’t even have to do 8 hours in a row?
We’d be better off. See you at 10 am, boss?
Pixabay Finally, we need good sleep discipline
The reality is, to change your future, take back your health and put your physical and mental well-being back in the forefront, you need to make sleep a priority. That means, no electronics an hour before bed, no eating before or in bed, limiting your caffeine intake in the afternoons, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, regular exercise, and structuring your day to make sure that you build in enough time to get all your needs met and still hit the sack for at least 8 hours.
Sounds simple, right? Honestly, it’s sad that doing the above seems like the hardest thing in your life, but look at the alternative. It’s not worth killing yourself to make sure Bill at the office gets the right TPS report, or that you don’t lose your Fortnite ranking.
Just get some fucking sleep, then take over the world tomorrow.
H/T Hopkins Medicine, Tumblr & Healthline
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