When you have a busy workweek, what’s the first thing to be struck from your schedule? For millions, the answer is adequate sleep. Insomnia, lack of sleep and chronic sleep deprivation is a rising concern across the world today, but few people are taking the absence of good rest as seriously as they should.
However, some doctors are challenging the idea that you can do without sleep. They suggest that shuteye should be prescribed to the sleep deprived, just like a medication. But does this make sense? Should you treat sleep like medicine for your body? Let’s look at the effects of insomnia and living with a lack of sleep to find out.
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep might seem simple, but it’s hardly something that your body should take for granted. The World Health Organization actually classifies night time shifts as carcinogens because a lack of sleep can lead to health issues over time. The effects are also immediate. Going just 19 hours without sleep leaves you feeling and acting the same as being drunk.
Suffering from a lack of sleep is more common than you think. According to SleepEducation.org, an estimated 30 percent of us experience insomnia on a regular basis, and 10 percent are chronically sleep deprived.
The modern crisis of sleep deprivation
In many ways, sleep deprivation is a modern concern. Less than eight percent of the population got fewer than six hours of nightly sleep in 1942, but those numbers have jumped to over 50 percent by 2017.
Why did this transition occur? Electronic screens and too much lighting at night are partly to blame, as are longer commutes and a society that increasingly pushes productivity at all costs. In some places, it’s not overstating things to say that getting enough sleep is subconsciously viewed as a weakness or as a sign of laziness.
For millions, proclaiming how little rest they need to be productive is considered a badge of honour, no matter the consequences on their health. That’s why many doctors believe that we need a society-wide perspective shift on the importance of being well-rested and why sleep deprivation poses such significant problems.
In this way, chronic sleep deprivation is a national crisis that many doctors believe should be taken more seriously. But should sleep be prescribed? The health effects of letting your sleep levels go lax are alarming.
Health problems with sleep deprivation
You already know you have low energy and struggle to think clearly when you have insomnia, but you might not be aware of the danger that those sleepless nights have over time. Studies show that inadequate sleep can cause serious problems for your health in the following ways.
- Lower immunity: Your immune system is significantly affected by your sleep level. Research reveals that your body responds better to the flu vaccine if you’re well-rested. That’s one of the reasons why all you want to do is hit the pillow when you’ve got the flu. The connection works both ways though- you’re also more likely to catch a cold if you’re sleep deprived.
- Increases growth of cancer cells: Going short on sleep can affect your body’s production of cancer-fighting cells. The research shows that getting less than eight hours a night or working late hours can increase your odds of developing breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s: Neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia are two of the most dreaded diseases connected with ageing, and years of too little sleep can significantly increase your risk of both. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why, but one theory is that these conditions are triggered by deposits of a toxic protein known as amyloid that is found in the brain. Deep sleep gives your cells an opportunity to clean this toxin out, but going without it will cause it to build up over time.
- Higher risk of heart problems: Your heart needs sleep as much as any other body part, and going without it can lead to dire health problems. Research shows that adults who sleep less than six hours a night are 200 percent more likely to experience a heart attack, and even one night without adequate sleep can significantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Less control over blood sugar: Does your sleep level affect your risk of diabetes? Research shows it does. Dealing with insomnia can prevent your system from controlling blood sugar adequately, which makes you less responsive to insulin and susceptible to the pre-diabetic state of hyperglycemia. Over time, this can also lead to weight gain.
Best ways to tackle sleep deprivation and improve your sleep
Clearly, getting adequate sleep can cure or prevent many health problems, so you should treat the command to get more rest as seriously as you would any other prescription. But what should you do to fall asleep faster and fight off insomnia?
Lifestyle changes like turning off electronics or using a sound machine can make a difference, but sometimes you need to go an extra step further with a natural supplement.
The benefits of a natural supplement, like taurine for sleep
Most people know how vital melatonin can be for aiding their sleep (we explain exactly how melatonin works in our article 'Melatonin Sleep Aid - Does it work?'), but few realise what difference taurine can make. This amino compound is a common ingredient in energy drinks - but not for the reasons you’d think. In fact, it’s renowned for increasingly mental clarify, reducing anxiety, and calming down your mind. When paired with a sleep-promoting hormone like melatonin, taurine can ease the transition to falling asleep.
To take advantage of this pairing, The Restored developed Advanced Night-Time Nutrients, a natural supplement that combines the benefits of melatonin through a Melo-Fruit® blend cherry extract with taurine. This supplement is designed to help you sleep better, and it works. Three-quarters of past customers we’ve surveyed state that our natural sleep supplement helped them fall asleep faster and stay that way throughout the night, so the odds are good that the supplement will work for you too.
Take your sleep health as seriously as your doctor wishes you would by trying Advanced Night-Time Nutrients to fall asleep faster. Your body will appreciate the help.
Visit The Restored Blog for more practical guidance to help restore your foundations in sleep, nutrition, movement and mindset.
The information shared in The Restored articles are not intended to replace qualified health care professional advice and are not intended as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.