World Sleep Day: 9 Reasons Why You Need to Relax and Get Good Sleep

NDTV Food  |  Updated: March 17, 2017 13:30 IST

World Sleep Day: 9 Reasons Why You Need to Relax and Get Good Sleep
  • 17th March marks World Sleep Day
  • One in every five people across the world is sleep deprived
  • Sleep is crucial for one's good health and well-being
We all know the havoc that is created because of lack of sleep. Most of us have experienced the consequences of late night movies and early morning work schedules. Besides making you drowsy for the entire day, you also struggle to think straight, concentrate and feel energised. Now imagine if you don't get sleep for a week, or months altogether! It can severely impact your health. 17th March marks World Sleep Day. It is an initiative that aims to spread awareness about the importance of sleep for our health and well-being, and also highlight various preventive measures and management of sleep disorders.

One may assume that at the end of a hard day's work, sleep should come instantly to all. After all that is what we secretly wish for throughout the day. But contrary to the belief, there are many who suffer from sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. In most cases, it is stress that springs up as the culprit. According to an earlier report, one in every five people across the world is sleep deprived.

Leading a hectic life balancing work pressure, family relations, personal life and daily errands is bound to take a toll on a person's health if he or she is not taking out enough time to stop and rest. Sleep is crucial for one's good health. It is the time when your body functions get some rest too, to be able to perform more effectively while up and awake. Sleep disorders generally fall into two categories: sleep-breathing problems and sleep-wake disorders. Sleep breathing problems like sleep apnea disrupt breathing while asleep. Sleep-wake disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome affect the amount of time spent asleep.


If you are wondering how poor sleep could impact your health, here's a list -

1. Poor Sleep Could Hamper Your Immune System

A study done by the University of Washington in Seattle, found that those deprived of regular sleep are likely to have a weak immune system. The findings showed that chronic short sleep shuts down programmes involved in immune response of circulating white blood cells. Seven or more hours of sleep is recommended for optimal health.

(How to Sleep Fast: 7 Tips to Help You Stop Counting Sheep)

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2. You May Find it Hard to Remember Things

According to Johns Hopkins University in the US, if you don't get enough sleep, you might just start forgetting things. Sleep deprivation can interfere with the process that helps reinforce our memories. A key purpose of sleep is to re-calibrate the brain cells responsible for learning and memory so that we can 'solidify' lessons learned and use them when awaken.

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3. Can Put You at Increased Risk of Stroke

People with sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea are more likely to have a stroke or recovery problems after having one than those who get sound sleep, says a study done by researchers at University Hospital Essen in Germany. Another German-based study stated that short-term sleep loss due to long working hours may adversely affect your heart function.

(Heart Health: Why a Healthy Diet Should Be Your Priority)

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4. Increases Your Appetite for Unhealthy Food

Sleep deprivation may make you munch on more calories the following day, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity, says a study done by King's College London. This study found that partial sleep deprivation resulted in a large net increased energy intake of 385 kcal per day. Another Japan-based study had found that poor sleep leads to increased consumption of unhealthy foods, specifically sucrose and fat.

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5. May Adversely Affect Kidney Function

Short and poor quality of sleep may worsen kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) stated a study done by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago in the US. "Short sleep and fragmented sleep are significant yet unappreciated risk factors for CKD progression," said one of the researchers, Ana Ricardo.

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6. May Make You Put on Belly Fat

Lack of exercise, nutrition, sleep and high levels of stress are all important factors contributing to increased belly fat. Belly fat is becoming more and more common in adults, as they are adopting sedentary lifestyles. Subcutaneous fat, also known as love handles, and visceral belly fat, which surrounds your organs, shouldn't be ignored. They can cause havoc in the long run.

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7. Affects Our Mood

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Lack of sleep takes a toll on our physical health in the long run, but it affects us psychologically too. It impacts our behaviour and mood. A study done by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine states that waking up several times throughout the night is more detrimental to your positive moods than getting the same shortened amount of sleep without interruption. "When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you do not have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration," said study lead author Patrick Finan.


8. May Put You at Risk of Asthma

A study conducted at Norwegian University of Science and Technology stated that people with chronic insomnia had more than three times the risk of developing asthma, suggesting that any changes in the body due to insomnia may accumulate and result in more severe harmful effects on the airways. Along with asthma insomniacs are likely to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety as well in adulthood.

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9. Improper Bedtime Can Increase Risks of Diabetes


According to a study done by the University of Colorado Boulder in the US, when people get too little sleep it leaves them awake at a time when their body clock is telling them they should be asleep. And when they eat something in the morning, it impairs their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels.

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It's time to pay attention to your health and het some good sleep.

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