While it can be truly tempting to finish up your day by skipping sleep and going on a Netflix binge, the risks aren’t worth it. Sleep is essential one of the building blocks of life and it has its hand in everything from your memory and focus to heart disease and life span. Assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and National Sleep Foundation poll scholar, Kristen Knutson sat down with the Men’s Journal to bring awareness to the risks of poor sleep:
1. Longevity: Although no one lives forever, lack of sleep shaves off some your precious years that could be spent with your family. Research indicates that people who sleep less than 7 hours or more than 8 hours a night have a 30% greater chance of an early death.
2. Inflammation: As a risk for stroke and heart disease, an increase of inflammatory markers occurs when you aren’t getting enough good sleep.
3. Memory: Simply getting enough sleep is better than pulling an all nighter according to studies. Sleep helps to reinforce learned tasks as well, process and retain memories. The sooner you take a nap after learning something new, the better you’ll be able to remember it.
4. Focus: Sleep deprivation is considered by many to be more dangerous than being drunk. One study found that after 17-19 hours without sleep, study participants performed worse on test, compared to when they had a BAC level of .05%. Plus, people can’t fully assess how impaired they are by sleep loss.
5. Depression: Consistent poor sleep can negatively change your outlook on your life. The link between depression and poor sleep works both ways, poor sleep can predict depression and depression is associated with problems getting sleep.
6. Stress: When you don’t get enough sleep, higher levels of cortisol, our stress hormone, build up in your body. This will make it even harder to get to bed.
7. Heart disease: Numerous studies have confirmed the link between heart issues, including heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. It only takes 1 night of poor sleep to elevate your blood pressure.
8. Obesity: Sleep less, and you will eat more! Over the course of 3 years, one study of more than 20,000 people found that people who slept less than 5 hours a night were more likely to gain weight and become obese, compared to those who slept 7 hours a night.
9. Diabetes: As chronic sleep loss increases your risk of obesity, it also increases your risk of developing diabetes. Glucose metabolism is affected by sleep, interfering with your body’s ability to properly respond to insulin.
Bottom line, sleep is critical to your overall well-being. Save the cost of doctor’s bills, re-taking classes and possible auto insurance cost of being in accident from skipping sleep. Upgrade your sleep accessories, turn off those lights and get into bed early tonight!