How to Get the Perfect Night’s Sleep
What are the health effects of poor sleep?
Though it’s not necessarily true that we need less sleep as we get older, young people seem particularly prone to developing bad sleeping habits such as ‘caning it’ all week then trying to catch up with sleep at the weekend. This can have many negative health consequences in later life.
There have been over 17,000 medical studies of sleep, many of them linking lack of sleep to health problems including stroke, obesity and heart disease.
A study in 2018 study found that sleep disorders such as sleep apneoa are common in people at risk of stroke, and another found that compared to people who slept six to nine hours a night, people who slept fewer than six had a 20 percent higher risk of heart attack.
Did you know?
Studies in mice show that sleep plays a role in clearing the metabolic waste product beta-amyloid out of the brain. Beta-amyloid is found in the fluid between brain cells (neurons), and a build-up is linked to impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease, in which beta-amyloid clumps together to form amyloid plaques, hindering communication between neurons.
Other consequences of sleep deprivation can be:
- Hallucinations, temporary psychosis or symptoms resembling paranoid schizophrenia
- Lethargy and lack of motivation
- Moodiness and depression
- Impaired sex drive
- Premature skin ageing
- A weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of cancer
Sleep deprivation can also lead to a lack of cognitive ability during the day. One study in America suggested that 100,000 road traffic accidents a year are a result of driver fatigue, with over a third of drivers admitting having fallen asleep at the wheel.