Sleep deprivation is widespread in the modern society. It affects every aspect of our biology, yet the problem is not being taken seriously by the employers and the government.
Matthew Walker is a Sleep Scientist at Google and a Professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is also the author of the book called Why We Sleep. In his recent speech at TED Talk, Walker spoke about how lack of sleep is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases.
“No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation. I take my sleep extremely seriously because I have seen the evidence,” said Walker.
Walker’s speech is a wake-up call for the modern society. Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and poor mental health problems. In short, the lack of complete sleep is slowly killing us from the inside. Let’s understand more about it.
Effects of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is defined as the condition of sleeping less than seven hours at night. It is becoming one of the greatest public-health problems we are facing in the 21st century. Yet most of us aren’t even talking about it.
Walker said, “Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent benefit. Things have to change, in the workplace and our communities, our homes and our families.”
Walker warned that being sleep deprived can significantly dull our intelligence. It makes us more forgetful and more prone to dementia. Routinely sleeping less than seven hours at night disrupts blood-sugar levels, increasing your risk of diabetes. It also increases the likelihood of clogged arteries, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Lack of sleep hurts our longevity and even causes genetic problems.
The brain suppresses production of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone in favor of stress hormones like cortisol. This leads to erectile dysfunction, irregular menstruation, infertility, as well as premature aging.
According to Walker, disruption in deep sleep contributes to cognitive decline, and often leads to dementia in aged people. Our immune systems get significantly weak, making us more vulnerable to sickness and even to disease like cancer.
“Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity and not an optional lifestyle luxury,” Walker said.
What does Walker recommend to help us start sleeping better?
And what are the things that we all can do tonight and in the future in order to get better sleep? His instructions are not that difficult to follow.
According to Walker, we need to cut down our dependence on caffeine and alcohol. We need to stick to a strict sleep routine, which includes going to bed at a fixed time every night, even on holidays. Keep the room cool in order to fall asleep quicker.
Rather than staying on the bed for hours thinking about everything, go out and do something else. Come back when you feel sleepy. Stop being dependent on the sedatives. Rather practice relaxation techniques like meditation.
Good sleep makes us better at almost everything
Research says you have to sleep better in order to get more productivity. A “good sleep” refers to both the amount and the consistency of your sleep.
But unfortunately, we live in a world where many famous personalities have glorified sleep deprivation in order to achieving the goals. Some businessmen, like Elon Musk, have also confessed that sleep deprivation had deeply unfavorable effects on their lives.
Lack of sleep causes water-logging in our brain . It costs us more than just bad moods and a lack of focus. Regular poor sleep cycle puts you at serious risks of diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.
We need that time to rest and rejuvenate our mind and body to keep them healthy. It is clear that a deep sleep at night is a must have routine for a long and healthy life.
Hello reader, I’m Abhishek Shankhwar, a passionate health enthusiast and a digital marketer by profession. As a health and wellness writer, I feel obligated to inform, inspire, and reach out to so many people. In the meantime, you’ll always find me reading books, writing inspiring content, and cooking delicious food. Connect with me on LinkedIn.