You’ve probably heard that Singaporeans are the among the most sleep-deprived people in the world. Experts recommend 7 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep has significant consequences to our health and our daily lives. While science still cannot fully explain why our bodies need sleep, what is known is that insufficient sleep each night might have a detrimental effect on our health.
Here are some consequences of lack of sleep that we may face.
Lack of Sleep Can Lead To Accidents
Sleep deprivation slows our reactions and decreases our alertness levels. It thus poses a significant daily risk to public safety when driving. Being sleepy might make driving as difficult as when being intoxicated.
According to studies, sleep deprivation and poor quality of sleep are also factors in workplace accidents and injuries. The number of work accidents, especially recurrent ones, was considerably higher among employees who complained about excessive daytime drowsiness. Workplace accidents need not be physical either. It may easily be a extra (or conversely, a missing) zero being accidentally entered into a spreadsheet.
It Reduces Our Ability To Learn And To Perform At Work
Sleep has a significant impact on our ability to think and learn. It affects our ability to focus, to remain attentive, and our ability to problem-solve. As a consequence, chronic sleep deprivation makes it more challenging to learning effectively or to perform well at work.
Lack of Sleep Can Cause Serious Health Issues
Chronic sleep deprivation and sleep disorders increase your chances of developing:
- Heart disease
- Abnormal heartbeat
- High blood pressure
Lowers Our Sex Drive
“Not tonight dear, I have a headache” is not just an excuse. According to sleep experts, sleep-deprived men and women report having reduced libido and less enthusiasm for having sex. Increased stress, tiredness, and depleted energy may be major contributing factors.
Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Depression
Sleep deprivation often makes depression symptoms worse, and in turn, depression itself might make it harder to fall asleep. Positively addressing sleep issues may alleviate depression and vice-versa.
It Ages Our Skin
Our body produces more stress hormone cortisol when we do not get enough sleep. Collagen, which is the protein that maintains the elasticity and smoothness of skin, may be broken down by the excessive amounts of cortisol in our bodies as a result.
Furthermore, our body produces less human growth hormone when we are sleep deprived. Human growth hormone helps to keep us youthful by aiding muscle development, and strengthening our skin and bones.
It Can Cause Weight Gain
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause us to feel more hungry, and can possibly lead to an increase in obesity. This is due to the resulting hormonal changes that both increase increase brain signals that stimulate hunger and reduce signals that suppress appetite. Studies also suggest that lack of sleep stimulates desire for foods that are high in fat and carbohydrate
People who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night are about 30% more likely to be obese than those who get at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep.
It Boosts The Risk Of Death
A British study published in 2007, looked at the link between between sleep and mortality for more than 10,000 British civil servants over a two-decade period. The results showed that those who had reduced their hours of sleep from 7 to 5 or fewer a night, had about doubled their risk of death from any cause, and particularly so for death from cardiovascular diseases.
Improve Your Sleep
Sleep is essential for us to maintain our health, school and work performance, and even safety in our daily lives. Addressing lack of sleep maybe possible via lifestyle changes. Stress is now the biggest reason why more than one-third of Singaporeans do not sleep well. If you need tips on managing stress – you can refer to our article here for some tips.
But if you suspect that you are getting insufficient sleep, or poor quality sleep due to medical reasons, you can consult your family GP or one of the sleep centres at our local hospitals for an assessment. Particular medical problems may eventually need to be addressed by a specialist.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.