A late night simply implies your morning Latte is likely to need a double shot — no big deal, right? And whilst you’re accurate for the most part — aside from some additional yawns thrown in there — have you ever stopped to consider what a lack of sleep is doing in all corners of your life?
From day to day running around, stress, and poor diet choices, lack of sleep is up there with being one of the unfortunate realities one has to experience as an adult in the 21st century. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. Yet, if you were to be asked out of the blue what lack of sleep might be doing to your health, what might you say? Might your answer involve depression, Alzheimer’s disease, poor cognitive function, obesity, or even heart disease and Type 2 diabetes?
Pinpointing precisely why lack of sleep can have such detrimental effects on human physiology has been mystifying medical professionals for years. However, in recent times researchers are getting closer and closer to the real reasons and mechanisms; ranging from a build-up of cellular garbage in the brain to blood vessels littered with fatty deposits.
All somewhat sad stuff. But what about the lesser said things and aspects of our lives that might be affected by lack of precious sleep?
Researchers are also getting a foretaste of what happens, particularly in the brain, when lack of sleep interferes with routine activities like driving. Scientists at UCLA and Tel Aviv University found in a study (published in the journal Nature Medicine) that brain scans of sleep-deprived epilepsy patients demonstrated as they became sleepy, their brain cells would slow down, disrupting their ability “to encode information and translate visual input into conscious thought,”
UCLA researcher Itzhak Fried, the study’s lead author says, “We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly. And severe fatigue exerts a similar influence on the brain to drinking too much.”
The scientists contemplate the same occurrence could make a healthy but sleep-deprived person fail to react quickly to, say, a car pulling out in front of their own. “The very act of seeing the offending car slows down in the driver’s over-tired brain,” says study team member Yuval Nir of Tel Aviv University. “It takes longer for his or her brain to register what’s being perceiving.”
Recent studies have shown sleep problems are a common reason people are late for work, not traffic or a sick child but a lack of slumber. A staggering 21% of women and 14% of men reported being late because they were too sleepy when they woke up or have an issue sleeping. Furthermore, 13% of women and 21% of men have fallen asleep at work in the past month — which is fast becoming a common occurrence in workers over the age of forty. If this wasn’t bad enough, also very commonplace over the last decade is noticeable sleep-related decreases in productivity across the board. Whereby workers, fearful of losing their job, are present at work but have a much-reduced ability to focus and finish tasks.
It’s well documented the brain can consolidate memories during sleep. More recently, though, researchers are comprehending how sleep also aids the brain in disposing of waste. Formerly, there was a strong belief the brain recycled its waste. Recent years have brought to light an opposing interpretation, and the latest thinking amongst experts is that degenerative diseases of the mind are regrettably the result of a “dirty brain.”
Junk proteins left to wonder the brain can become the most dangerous. The brain disposes of this waste — and other molecules — via the glymphatic system, a network of vessels that runs alongside blood vessels in the scalp. Studies indicate the brain’s ‘rubbish collectors’ work best when people sleep, hauling away a protein called amyloid-beta, amongst the other discarded waste.
Weighted blankets have been proven to be effective catalysts for inducing a restful night’s sleep. Meaning with Hyber Nation, you can mitigate, or even entirely avoid, these complaints all together.