Tons of research carried out proves the adverse effects a person can experience due to insufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation is a severe issue that many people often experience. According to the National Health Institute approximately 50 – 70 million Americans struggle with sporadic sleep issues and chronic sleep disorders, which considerably impact their alertness, safety, and health.
It was even discovered that insufficient or interrupted sleep increases the likelihood of health problems like diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, hypertension or other chronic diseases.
This discovery was confirmed by another research from Northwestern University. It also reveals evidence that sleep deprivation can cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Several other studies report that lack of sleep affects decision-making, motor skills, poor stress management, as well as memory and concentration issues.
Another person’s sleep issues can severely impact your safety and health. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration department, drivers with insufficient sleep are liable for 1,500+ deaths and minimal 100,000 car accidents are caused every year.
Understand sleep science
Basically, the human body is programmed to a specific sleep and wake patterns dictated by circadian rhythms. When these circadian rhythms get disturbed due to international travel, shift work, and time zone changes, people suffer from insomnia. Light and darkness affects circadian rhythm heavily. The stable and consistent the rhythm is the better, as per doctors.
As it gets dark, your body starts to produce Melatonin. This hormone makes you feel tired and prepares the body for sleep. When your body gets exposed to light, the body starts releasing Serotonin. This hormone wakes you in the morning and gives an energetic kick-start for the day. Thus, you stay awake all day and the rhythm cycle starts again.
Culprits of sleepless nights – Mattress
Anxiety, stress, illness, medication, and chronic pain are blamed for contributing sleepless nights. These are legitimate reasons for lack of goodnight rest but one factor, which gets overlooked even in research study is – the mattress itself!
You get lots of advice on how to enhance your sleep. It includes going to bed early, reducing intake of caffeine, exercise, eating healthy, avoiding electronics and screen watching a couple of hours prior to going to sleep, and creating a cool bedroom environment.
Obviously, all these small things make a huge difference but even remember to check your mattress to identify how much your ability to enjoy good sleep is compromised.
Does mattress really matter?
The feelings of tossing, turning, sleepless night and exhausted morning are known but many are still unaware that sleeping on the correct mattress helps to reduce these issues. It even reminds you what it feels like when rested.
A 4-year research was conducted on 126 subjects to find out how mattresses with different support levels affected sleep, daytime functioning, and pain. This is claimed to be the largest study regarding the effect of mattress on pain-free sleeper’s health, which was stretched across for 16,000 nights.
Few studies have been conducted with respect to mattress impact on sleep and pain. The ones done are on a small number of people and mattresses. Small sample sizes have chosen ‘medium-firm’ as the best sleep mattress. Error in this result is two-fold.
- No recognized definition for ‘What medium firm mattress feels like?’ For e.g. A 230-pound person will label a mattress as soft and this same mattress may be defined as firm by a 125-pound person.
- Some participants slept well on other mattresses [firm or soft] soundly. Should they try sleeping on medium-firm even if they slept well on a firm or soft mattress?
There are studies with small university students as subjects. Group of university students were said to be a poor choice because they are often sleep deprived. Given a chance, the group can sleep anywhere sitting in their classroom or even lying on the floor.
The largest mattress study conducted was with 128 subjects using 7 varieties of different firmness and spending nights for 4 weeks on each mattress [4 weeks] was evaluated for 16,000 + nights. It was clear that small differences related to mattress support correlates with change in sleep and pain. This proves that the mattress does matter. Another powerful conclusion about this study is ‘We may never be able to decide, which mattress is best, when we wake up.’
What happens to your body while sleeping?
People select poor mattresses because they are unaware about sleep science. What happens in your body while sleeping? People pass through the sleep cycle phase every night. REM or rapid eye movement is a stage, where you dream.
Actually, your eyes move but skeletal muscles supporting your back relax but spinal support is lost. Therefore, a mattress, which felt supportive when you were wide-awake with active muscles can perform differently in REM sleep. It means you can actually feel the difference in mattresses, when you are catching some sleep.
Scientific reasons to enjoy good night sleep
Breathing, eating, exercising, and sleeping are necessities that humans require to sustain healthy existence. Humans are the only living beings that delay sleep willingly. Obviously, people lead a busy life multi-tasking. Unfortunately, they will not be able to deal with loads of tasks, if they compromise their sleep at night.
Science and doctors recommend 7 to 9 hours quality sleep for the majority of healthy adults. Some scientific studies have proven how good night sleep can affect your life.
Good night sleep helps to –
Enhance your academics
Research regarding sleep quality was performed on 621 students at Ghent University & KU Leuven. According to study results, students increasing their sleep hours or got good night sleep performed well in their exams [their scores increased].
Boost your creativity
Researches at Boston College and Harvard University reported that people strengthen emotional components related to memory in their sleep. This can help to spur creative processes. It means before getting on board with a creative project, revitalize yourself with good night rest. The chances your next project can be a breakthrough increases. Discover your potential!
Increase your memory
Sleep helps to improve memory was found in 2014’s research study. Your mind functions great after a good night’s sleep. While you sleep, mind allows you to recap and review your learnings, so as to retain this information for future use. Therefore whether you wish to remember or memorize for an exam make sure to sleep sufficiently.
In 2013, the National Health Institute released a study report that sufficient sleep at night allows the brain to flush away toxins. Studies have connected such toxins with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The toxins disappeared quickly when asleep rather than when wide-awake. It suggests that toxins get eliminated during the sleep cycle.
In WebMD there is a detailed study, where sleep was tested by monitoring participants’ sleep habits and exposing them to cold viruses. People who enjoyed sleep for not more than 7 hours were 3 times at risk to get sick in comparison to those who slept for minimal 8 hours.
Another research revealed that extended absence risk was due to employee sickness caused because of insufficient sleep [less than 6 hours]. The findings also supported early morning awakenings, insomnia-related symptoms, use of sleeping pills, and feeling more exhausted.
Alleviates depression risk
Countless research studies discovered significant links between sleep deprivation and major depression risk. The results showed that six or less hours of sleep at night escalates risk of depression and that can cause sleep disorder among youths.
As per Cognitive therapy & research study of 2014, besides duration the time schedule is also linked with positive and negative thoughts. It reveals that high level of RNT [Repetitive Negative Thinking] is connected with decrease in sleep duration means less sleep makes you focus more on negativity.
Enhanced athletic abilities
A study was planned in November 2014 with a question, ‘If athletes get more sleep than their competitors, will it give them an edge?’ research started with the Cardinals men’s basketball team.
The player’s normal schedules of night sleep were tracked. Their athletic performance was also monitored. The players were advised to sleep as much as they could every night. With extra sleep time, players enhanced their overall performance.
Slows-down ageing process
Sleep deprivation roots puffy eyes, dark circles and increases in cortisol. This stress hormone ultimately damages skin collagen responsible for skin elasticity and smoothness. Sleep is the best way to avoid this from occurring.
Science says that during REM sleep, growth hormones get released. This increases muscle mass, strengthens bones, and thickens skin as you age and promotes overall growth when you are young. Collagen is a protein, which keeps skin looking young and its formation depends on many biochemical processes, which occur during REM sleep.
Extends life expectancy
Penn State Study reported that people suffering from lack of sleep die younger in comparison. A student’s life has limitations to their total sleep schedule, which is not always possible. Therefore, the best solution is to shut the TV, close social media, or stop working on the computer a couple of hours before sleep time. An extra sleep hour can make a huge difference!