Nowadays, sleep has become a luxury for many owing to unpredictable work hours, increasing screen times, and lifestyle changes. Sleeplessness is a silent epidemic. Adults need a minimum of 8 hours of restful sleep for a healthy mind, body and soul. According to data, the recorded average sleep hours in India is 6.55 hours, an hour less than the global average, and you may ask, “It’s just one hour. Does it really make a difference?”
It does. If it is only a couple of nights, we only experience the known impacts – grogginess, grumpiness, fatigue, irritability, day-time sleepiness, etc. However, when the sleep debt piles on over weeks and months, it has profound and long-term impacts on our physical, and mental well-being along with professional performance. This condition, often referred to as insomnia, requires immediate attention and treatment from professionals. Sleep issues are directly correlated to our overall health.
Physical Health-Related Costs
While we sleep, our body heals the blood vessels, controls inflammation and maintains blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Prolonged sleeplessness predisposes us to a high risk of chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and strokes, among many others.
Sleep deprivation prevents the immune system from producing infection-fighting substances such as cytokines and antibodies. So, the immune system is ill-equipped to fight infections.
Insomnia causes a disbalance between the digestive hormones responsible for hunger and satiation. The result – fatigue, hunger pangs, digestive problems, late-night snacking, obesity and inability to lose weight.
Sleeplessness is a big public safety hazard as it makes us prone to accidents. Several studies have linked the higher number of accidents on roads and the workplace to sleep deprivation. Also, it leads to an erosion of skin health, causing skin to age faster. This is because of the excessive production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Even a couple of sleepless nights can make us irritable and moody. So, it is not surprising that sleeplessness is linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety, psychosis, hallucinations, impulsive behavior and other serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies.
While many of us are aware of the physical and emotional costs we are paying, we are not cognizant of the professional costs we are paying due to chronic sleeplessness. Restful sleep enables our brain and nervous system to rejuvenate itself and eliminate toxins. This, in turn, enables us to retain information, focus better and learn new things.
Poor sleep deters the brain and the central nervous system from doing so and thereby, impacts the cognitive function. Our memory, focus, concentration and judgement suffer and so do our creativity and problem-solving solving skills.
Since the immune system is weak, we become prone to infections. This leads to increased absenteeism and a loss of productivity.
The Way Forward
Sometimes, despite our best efforts like exercising, meditation, lifestyle changes and even diet control, we are unable to manage insomnia. Cases like these, need professional help and evaluation from qualified and experienced ‘sleep’ doctors.
At SleepMoksha, we are equipped to not only manage, but cure sleeplessness via established and impactful means – both physically and psychologically.
If you already have a high sleep debt, it cannot be compensated with overnight. You need to continuously make long-term adjustments and lifestyle changes to lower the sleep debt. If you are unsure on what to do, take professional help.