We all know sleep is important, or so we’ve been told. Most of us have been preached the significance of a good night's rest ever since we started begging our mums to let us stay up past 9pm on a school night. But what’s less common knowledge is why, exactly, sleep is so crucial and what happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough. Sleep, or lack thereof, not only impacts our physical health and functioning, but also our mental wellbeing. When our nightly sleep suffers, so does our mental standing. There are many ways in which lack of sleep affects the brain, but the following are the most common negative consequences:
When humans suffer from sleep loss, their hippocampus takes a toll. If you never took a psych 101 class, here’s a brief lesson - The hippocampus is an area of the brain responsible for consolidating and storing new memories. When you don’t get enough sleep (or quality sleep), you may experience trouble remembering new bits of information.
Imbalance Many past studies have indicated that when people get a restless night’s sleep, they express much more anger, stress and hostility than those who slept well. The main reason for this is because sleep deprivation impacts the amygdala, which manages and stabilises our emotions. When you don’t sleep enough, your amygdala is more apt to rapid-fire emotional queues, which may put you on edge and prone to outbursts.
Reduced Risk Aversion
If you are already prone to risky behaviour, make sure you’re getting proper rest. Otherwise, a lack of sleep may trigger your daredevil behaviours. After even a single night of poor sleep, you may be more prone to risky decision making. This is because sleep deprivation can trigger us to make decisions without fully assessing potential risks while attempting to maximise gain, as the sleep deprived may also be optimistic than normal and will have trouble distinguishing between positive versus negative outcomes.
When you miss out on valuable sleep time, your frontal and parietal lobes are impacted. This may influence your ability to focus, whether you’re at work, at school, commuting, or simply watching mindless television. Low-quality sleep has been linked to reduced motor and cognitive functioning, including slower response times and a hard time paying attention to both what’s is in front of you and what may be creeping around the corner.
Inability to Regulate Appetite
One great danger of sleep deprivation is the way it affects our hunger and eating habits. Lack of sleep sends all sorts of hormones into a frenzy, including the ones that control our hunger and fullness queues. This means that when you don’t sleep enough, you may feel hungry when we’re not and have trouble deciphering when you’ve had enough to eat.
While these five risk factors may seem like they pose a big threat, they don’t have to. Even if you’ve been suffering from sleep deprivation for a while, just a few nights of decent sleep are enough to restore your brain. Usually, all that’s required are a few simple changes in your daily routine in order to get to sleep easier and stay asleep longer.
One of the first things to consider is whether your mattress needs replacing and if the one you use currently is suited to your needs. At Hugo Sleep, we can provide you with a mattress guaranteed to help you sleep soundly through the night. View the Hugo Sleep product range to learn more.