I must confess… sleep isn’t my priority. Just like you, I have more work on my plate than I can get done in a day. So what do we do? We work into the wee hours of the morning and on occasion pull, all-nighters! Sound familiar?
You can imagine my reaction when I read this headline in Inc Magazine… 5 Ways Science Says Lack of Sleep will Ruin Your Life, by contributor Bill Murphy Jr. OMG!
So, listen up (I know I will) Here’s what Murphy has to say…
1. Lack of sleep harms productivity. Are you skipping sleep to work more? According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, even if skipping sleep allows you to accomplish more in the short term, it will kill your long-term productivity:
Not getting enough sleep–whether for just one night or over the course of weeks to months–has a significant effect on our ability to function. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mood, our ability to focus, and our ability to access higher-level cognitive functions.
2. Lack of sleep kills you slowly. The next time you’re tempted to think that you’ll sleep when you’re dead–well, you just might be making that day come sooner. Just a short perusal of research on what lack of sleep does to your body will make you want to go back to bed. Among the worst effects, according to WebMD: all kinds of heart issues (including risk of heart attack and stroke), diabetes, and obesity.
3. Lack of sleep harms other people. It’s not just the increased irritability and lack of focus that you are certainly familiar with; it’s that your ability to do even simple tasks is measurably impaired. For example, Harvard found that “drowsy driving” is among the causes of one-fifth of U.S. car crashes, leading to the deaths of 8,000 people a year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.
4. Lack of sleep hurts your appearance. Yes, you know what it’s like to look tired. However, now data shows that it’s not just black circles under your eyes. According to one study, those who sleep fewer than six hours a night have a 30 percent higher chance of becoming obese than those who sleep between seven and nine hours. Moreover, it also ages your skin.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone.
5. Lack of sleep kills your sex drive. If nothing else in this list will get your attention, maybe this will. It’s not just a matter of being too tired to do anything else in bed; lack of sleep kills libido. At least for men, there is at least one scientific study that says it can also wreck your testosterone levels.
Fortunately, we seem to be on the crest of a trend in which people are coming clean about making sleep a priority. If you can’t pull off a full eight hours, at least take a nap.
Excuse me… I’m off to take a nap!