Lack of sleep is a hidden epidemic causing severe trouble to our generation. In the USA, 30% of adults and 66% of adolescents are sleep deprived. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind the next time you think sleep is optional:
§ The brain represents only 2% of an average adult body weight, yet it burns more than 25% of the daily calories. All this metabolic activity produces a significant amount of waste substances that, when accumulated, interfere with its function and can predispose to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Our brain’s detoxing mechanism is relatively inactive while we are awake but kicks into action while we sleep, flushing out waste products like adenosine and beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
§ Our body is continuously self-repairing; our daily lives cause unseen damage that is repaired as it happens. This repairing process is controlled by specialized genes that can turn on and off. The genes that manage the restoration processes in our brain are turned on only when we sleep.
§ While awake, our brain is busy receiving all sorts of information and managing the day to day interaction with our environment. While we sleep, the brain gets to work in the deep processing of data and complex problem solution.
§ Your capability of finding a novel solution to a complex problem increases 3.5 times when you sleep at least 8 hours
Have you heard the saying “Consult it with the pillow” or “sleep on it”?
§ While we are awake, our busy brain only saves memories in the short-term “format.” When we sleep, these memories are converted to long-term memories. This process is a vital part of learning. An intense study session followed by a good night of sleep will yield amazing results, while an all-nighter can be a real waste of your time, and sleep.
§ Sleep deprivation increases the release of the hunger hormone called Ghrelin; this carries a 50% risk of obesity.
§ Stroke risk increases by 4.5 times when you sleep 5 hours vs. 8 hours.
§ Lack of sleep always comes with poor memory, reduced creativity, increased impulsivity, and poor judgment.
So just remember, nature is wise, our body’s functions are there for a reason. Have a good night.