Sleep is one of the most important necessities of every man on earth. This is the state wherein we put our body and mind at rest for a few hours. But contrary to what most people think about sleep, it is actually an active period. This means that our mind and body don’t shut down but remain working behind our closed eyes. This is the period where a lot of processing, restoring, and strengthening happens.
How our bodies manage to slumber for a long period, it is still a mystery that experts are figuring out. So, read on to learn more about its importance and uncover if less sleep and oversleeping have negative effects.
Importance of Sleep
Scientists have already confirmed that sleep is very important in attaining good health and wellbeing. This is the same with animals so don’t go bothering those little fellows when they slumber regardless of the time. Clearly, we’re not the only ones who get tired and need to recharge. Sleeping helps strengthen and consolidate our memories.
“Our brain can’t automatically record information to retain it. Every bit of information and experience should be processed and stored first, which takes place during our sleep. As we sleep, parts of information are gradually transferred into a more tentative process. This converts short-term memory into stronger and long-term memory which is referred to as the consolidation process.”says Linda Jones,a sleep expert at mattress1000.
According to researchers, most people can retain more information and excel in memory tasks after sleeping. Thus, we all need long hours of sleep to restore, grow muscles, repair tissues, and synthesize our hormones.
Cause and Effects of Less Sleep
Part of growing up is collecting new knowledge, skills, and experience from our day to day lives. Thus, this is one of the reasons why children need a longer period of sleep compared with adults. To develop their linguistic, social, and motor skills faster, infants to 1-year-olds need 11 up to 14 sleep a day. Grade school children need between 9 to 11 hours a day, while teenagers need between 8 to 10 hours a day. These findings show that younger generations need more sleep to stay alert and productive.
Basically, lack of sleep can weaken your immune system which makes you more vulnerable to viruses once exposed to one. The most common illness that people get due to lack of sleep is common cold. Unfortunately, your ability to heal fast can be affected as well. Our immune system releases cytokines during sleep. These proteins can also promote sleep and increase whenever you suffer from an infection, inflammation, or stress for your protection.
However, lack of sleep can reduce the production of cytokines as well as your antibodies against infections and cells. If you want to maintain a good number of antibodies to fight for your good health, you need to get enough sleep. Less sleep can increase your risk of having stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and being obese. Aside from these things, it can also affect your mental health as your brain will fog. This can lead to difficulty in concentrating and making certain decisions.
As it gets worse, some people even develop anxieties which increase their risk of injuries or accidents over time. Thus, adults are recommended to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a day to prevent these problems from occurring.
Cause and Effects of Oversleeping
If less sleep is harmful to our health, this doesn’t mean that more sleep is the best solution. Oversleeping is also linked to several issues including heart diseases, diabetes, increased risk of death, and other medical problems. According to research, some of the factors that can trigger oversleeping are depression and low socioeconomic status. Many people who belong in the low socioeconomic status have less access to proper health care according to researchers.
Thus, they are also the ones who are usually diagnosed with illnesses like cardiovascular diseases which trigger oversleeping. A study led by scientists at Keele University in the UK under the published Journal of the American Heart Association discovered a “J shaped” connection between deaths and duration of sleep. The same was observed with incidents which concern cardiovascular illnesses. The authors stated that sleeping more than 7 to 8 hours “may be associated with a moderate degree of harm” compared with getting less sleep.
This J-shaped relationship revealed that the risk rises based on the duration of sleep. For instance, 9 hours of sleep carry a 14% higher risk of ending up with death while 10 hours carry a 30% higher risk. The results also revealed that getting a poor quality sleep was also connected to a 44% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Oversleeping is also considered as a medical disorder for people who suffer from hypersomnia.
People with this condition suffer from extreme sleepiness all day even if they take a nap. Hypersomnia also causes symptoms like low energy, anxiety, and memory issues since they are constantly yearning for sleep. In some cases, sleep apnea can also be the cause. This is a disorder that momentarily stops people from breathing during sleep and disrupts their normal sleep cycle. As a result, they tend to sleep more than 7 to 8 hours.
Clearly, this article answers the question above. Oversleeping and getting less sleep are both harmful to our health in different degrees. Depending on the duration of sleep that we experience, the negative effects can range from mild to severe health issues. Even if you work on a night shift, don’t forget how important it is to get the right amount of sleep. If lack of sleep makes you feel less energized and rested, don’t make up for it by oversleeping the next day.
Instead, manage your time better and set your sleeping hours that you need to follow religiously. Also, take note that not all who suffer from lack of sleep and oversleeping have sleep disorders. Some can be caused by alcohol and prescribed medications while some just want to sleep longer.