“If you snooze, you lose.” You’ve heard this common saying time and again, but it turns out if you DON'T snooze, you lose!
Whether it’s caused by having an old, uncomfortable mattress or a new demanding position at work, losing out on much needed shut-eye can wreak havoc on your body from head to toe. Backed by science, there are countless studies confirming the relationship between poor health and a lack of sleep.
In fact, in a recent study, participants who slept less than six hours a night experienced over 700 genomic changes. This is especially alarming considering nearly 50 percent of Americans don’t receive the recommended seven hours of snooze time per night. Keep reading to learn more about the dangerous truth about what you may be doing to your body when you don’t catch enough ZZZs.
Focus and Memory Problems
Being exhausted from an uncomfortable bed, crying newborn, your mind racing over all your things to do, or any other reason can zap both your focus and memory. According to Harvard, sleeping for at least seven hours each night is necessary for memory consolidation, which means not getting enough rest can make learning and retaining new information much more difficult.
Rapidly Aging Skin
Chances are you’ve experienced puffy eyes and sallow skin after a few restless nights at some point in your life. However, chronic sleep loss may also result in longer-lasting dark circles under your eyes, fine lines, and older looking skin.
When you don’t get enough rest, more of the stress hormone cortisol is released in your body. Excess amounts of cortisol lead to the loss of collagen, which is an important protein responsible for keeping your skin smooth and full of elasticity.
Not sleeping enough also minimizes the release of human growth hormone within your body. While it’s often discussed in a negative light on the news, human growth hormone, or HGH, is important for strengthening your bones, increasing your muscle mass, and thickening your skin as you age.
According to experts, our growth hormones are released while we're sleeping deeply and are a perfectly normal aspect of tissue repair. Without it, skin can’t repair itself and retain its resiliency.
Lack of shut-eye also leads to weight gain. While many believe metabolism speeds up during the sleeping process, the focus of recent research has revolved around catching ZZZs and its relation to appetite, hunger, and obesity. In fact, studies suggest people sleeping only six hours or less per night are nearly 30 percent more likely to experience significant weight gain and become obese than people sleeping at least seven hours each night.
These same studies reveal that a lack of shut-eye decreases the production of leptin, which suppresses appetite by telling your brain you’re satiated. Meanwhile, it increases ghrelin production, which has proven to stimulate hunger.
In addition to stimulating appetite, not getting enough ZZZs also stimulates cravings for foods high in both fat and carbohydrates. Therefore, ongoing studies are looking into whether 7-8 hours of daily uninterrupted shut-eye should become a standard recommendation in weight loss programs. Needless to say, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should invest in a premium bed and micro coil mattress to ensure a great night of sleep.
Weakened Immune System
Proper rest is essential for a healthy immune system. When you’re sleeping, your body produces cytokines and antibodies to protect itself from bacteria, viruses, infection, and disease.
According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic and Carnegie Melon University, sleeping less than seven hours a night increases your odds of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also triples your risk of catching a cold.
Increased Risk of Diabetes
If you’re suffering from diabetes, getting a great night of sleep is extra important. How so? In a 2013 study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, doctors discovered that not sleeping enough is linked to Type 2 diabetes and a host of other chronic diseases.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
According to reports in Harvard Health Publications, not sleeping well has also been associated with atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and even heart failure. If you receive less than six hours of shut-eye per night and have a hard time sleeping soundly, you’re actually 48 percent more likely to develop or die from a heart disease. You’re also 15 percent more likely to experience or die from a stroke.
The European Heart Journal also states, “The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.” With such severe consequences, staying healthy and getting your rest is critical for your health.
Quadrupled Risk of Stroke
As stated above, research also suggests that receiving less than six hours a night can seriously increase the risk of stroke in people over 40. Older people who have a hard time sleeping at least seven hours each night are actually four times more likely to experience stroke symptoms than those who regularly receive enough ZZZs.
Increased Risk of Cancer
As if all of the negative health risks above weren’t scary enough, a cancer study found that participants who slept less than six hours each night had a whopping 50 percent rise in their risk of colorectal adenomas.
Another study identified a link between a lack of sleep and breast cancer. Furthermore, sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of cancers of any kind. Therefore, some chamomile tea and a quality mattress can actually save your life!
Increased Risk of Death
Last but not least, scientific research also suggests receiving fewer than six hours of shut-eye a night can significantly increase your risk of mortality. In a study involving both men and women over a 10-14 year period, the risk of death was substantially higher amongst participants not receiving enough sleep. This didn’t even account for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all of the other negative health consequences above.
The bottom line is, taking good care of your body and getting the rest you need on a nightly basis is extraordinarily important. How can you achieve the best night's sleep? Start with investing in a quality bed and best rated mattress, develop a healthy bedtime routine, shut off your devices and surround yourself with a calming environment. Remember, it’s vital for your health to get at least seven hours of shut-eye each day. Doing so will help you look and feel younger and increase your chances for a long, healthy life.