The Dangers of not getting enough Sleep - Part 1
Poor Sleep and Mental Health and Immune Function
We all know the effect a poor nights sleep can have on our mood.
We are left irritable, moody and seeking external supplementation (Coffee!) to bring us back to a normal state.
Did you know that long-term insufficient sleep has been linked with depression, anxiety, and mental distress?
Poor sleep leads to an increase in the production of Cortisol (the bodies stress hormone). Which in turn leads us to struggle to fall asleep easily!
In a study done by Harvard University subjects who only slept 4 hours reported feeling sad, angry, more stressed, mentally exhausted, less optimistic and less sociable[i]!
Poor sleep has also been shown to affect our immune system. This is the bodies system in charge of keeping us healthy and feeling well.
When we are very unwell we all want to go back to bed and sleep right? This is known as ‘the drive to sleep’.
We have this because when we sleep our immune system is better able to fight infection and illness[ii].
Our immune systems fight off sickness in a number of ways. Adequate sleep allows our number of defense cells (T Cells) to go up and our immune system reduces inflammation in the body.
A lack of sleep reverses these processes leading to more colds, cases of flu, stress and mental illness[iii].
This leads to more sick days, reduced productivity, the pain of illness and less enjoyment of life.
Enjoying deep, restorative sleep not only gives us more energy for the day but also allows or stress levels to fall and our immune systems to work at optimal levels.
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