In today’s fast-paced world, it can be challenging to find the time to do everything you need to accomplish in a single day. Between working, commuting, making time for family and friends, exercising, eating healthy, and still squeezing in time for fun and relaxation, it’s easy to start cutting out sleep as a time management technique. While depriving yourself of sleep may give you the time to catch up on your favorite TV shows, it can also have negative effects on your overall health.
Premature aging. Sleep deprivation affects the body in a way that is similar to aging. Insufficient sleep causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which can prematurely age your skin over a prolonged period of time. Sleep loss also reduces the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) that your body produces, which helps to maintain your skin and muscle mass. Less HGH means that your body is less able to repair its tissues and keep your skin looking youthful.
Chronic illness. Chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. In particular, lack of sleep dramatically increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Not getting enough sleep can also weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to seasonal illnesses like colds and the flu.
Weight gain. On top of everything else, chronic sleep deprivation can also cause weight gain. Sleep-deprived people tend to crave high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, and their bodies have a harder time regulating appetite.
If you have been wearing your lack of sleep like a badge of honor and claiming that you “can sleep when you’re dead,” it may be time to find a new motto. Getting sufficient sleep is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle.