I often hear people use the phrase “sleep is for weak” when someone is tired, or because sleep is put off for an activity that has to be done. Unfortunately, that thought process is a gross misunderstanding of why sleep is so important. Granted, not everyone gets eight hours of sleep a night, but without sleep, your body can not run at its optimum level. If you think sleep is for the weak, think again.
Weakened immune systems
If there’s anything weak about sleep, it’s a weakened immune system. Your body uses sleep as a time to rest and repair itself, and the lack of sleep reduces the chances of this. When you sleep, your body releases a protein called cytokines, which fights off infection and viruses. Cytokines are also needed to help regulate deep sleep. Without sleep, you put yourself at risk for illness and infection, because of the reduced protein and other infection-fighting cells.
Lack of a glowing personality
You may not notice your demeanor has changed, but your family and friends will be able to tell you haven’t had enough sleep. The lack of sleep can make your glowing personality as black as ever. Things that would normally not bother you can try your patience and cause irritability.
Did I say that?
Sleep deprivation does not allow you to think at your full capacity. Have you ever said something and can’t remember saying it? Or, perhaps you did something and can’t remember doing it? A lack of sleep reduces your chances to think clearly, make sound decisions and causes you to make more errors in your normal activities.
Reducing your sleep by as little as one and a half hours a night is enough to reduce your day time alertness by 32%. Though you can function on that amount of sleep, it may still result in a poor quality of life.
Sleep your weight off
The amount of sleep you get each night makes a difference in the way your metabolism works. In fact, your metabolism needs sleep to work properly for weight loss. Excessive sleep does not necessarily mean you will lose more weight, but sleep deprivation does effect your leptin and ghrelin hormones.
In layman’s terms, ghrelin tells your body when to eat and when it’s sleep deprived. On the other hand, leptin tells you to stop eating, but when you are sleep deprived you have less leptin. In this case, you have more ghrelin than leptin, which leads to weight gain.
For those who are exercising to lose weight, the lack of sleep is counterproductive, because you’re slowing down your metabolism.
Sleep is important for everyone, but those who participate in sports or heavy exercise should be certain to get ample sleep each night. During sleep is when your muscles are repaired from the breakdown that occurs from extensive training. Proper sleep will allow your muscles to grow and enable you to gain strength for your future workouts.
Source: Mayo Clinic