We prioritize a lot of things daily. There’s work, diet, family, appointments, travel, social events, children, the list can go on. With all of this, life doesn’t leave much room for one of the most undervalued priorities. SLEEP.
In a 2018 peer-reviewed journal, The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep, writer Susan L. Worley discusses the dangerous impact poor sleep has on human health. Worley shares that, “…no matter how hectic our lives may be, we can no longer afford to ignore what research is telling us about the importance of sleep for our safety and mental and physical well-being.” In summary, our bad habits and disregard for rest can’t outsmart the way our body does or doesn’t respond.
THE INFLUENCE OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION
Since 2005, research has nearly tripled in findings supporting the relationship between sleep deprivation and its influence on:
- Hormone regulation including cortisol
- Gene expression
- Impaired immune functioning
- Cardiovascular disease
- Mood disorders
BRAIN HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE
The evidence further supports that irregular snoozing can cause poor cognitive function. As a result of interference with certain areas of the brain that impair its ability to perform. These areas can include reaction time, speed, accuracy, and attentional focus. Likewise, the brain can also undergo rigid thinking and trouble utilizing new data for innovative decision-making tasks.
The 2019 Netflix game show, Awake, took this to a whole new level by making contestants stay awake for over 24 hours before competing in different physical and mental challenges. Under those circumstances, the brain and body have difficulty communicating with one another resulting in frustrating, confusing, and hard to accomplish test.
But, all things considered, who doesn’t love the combination of hilariously entertaining moments and neuroscience?
So, the sleep doctor is certainly right. Getting a routine 8-9 hours of quality sleep is essential for a healthy and sound body and mind. In addition, shifting nighttime priorities toward better slumber habits would be a valuable piece to making positive lifestyle changes and improvements in vitality, health, and quality of life.