Although you’ve been hearing people yelling ‘You can sleep when you’re dead’, it seems that being deprived from a few hours of sleep turns out to be deadly.
Not Getting Enough Sleep is Killing Us
Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and the author of the book ‘Why We Sleep’, published in October, presents a research on how to get a better sleep and the importance of it.
He stated that ‘the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life’, so we should get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Getting one or two hours of less sleep can cause our health damage over time.
This is how Matthew Walker explains the damage process to our health and brain if we lack enough sleep.
- The Immune System is Lowered
Sleep deprivation will not help the body fight illnesses like the cold or even cancer. The less we sleep, the higher the chances to get Alzheimer’s, to get obese, have strokes or even get diabetes. The latter is provoked by changing how the insulin in your body acts and might no longer help you absorb sugar.
After only a week after getting less than eight hours a night (5-6 hours), you can be diagnosed with pre-diabetes. In long term sleep deprivation, you can damage your heart, blood vessels and even the kidneys.
- Lose One Hour and You’re in Danger
In the spring, the Daylight-Saving Time causes a spike in car accidents rates. Matthew Walker studied participants in his lab and saw it for himself: the participants slept seven hours a night for 2 weeks instead of nine hours a night. Walker saw that the reaction time got slower, reaching half a second – enough for people to get in an accident.
In Japan men that sleep less than 6 hours per night have an increase rate of getting a heart attack by 400-500% than the ones that sleep 8 hours per night.
- Sleeping Less Increases the Risk of Cancer
Not getting enough sleep makes the body a good place for cancer. These types of cancers are related to sleep deprivation: colon, breast and prostate cancer. Even an imbalanced sleep schedule can increase the risks of getting cancer, because of melatonin suppression.
So, instead of listening to Bon Jovi’s advice, ‘Gonna live while I’m alive, I’ll sleep when I’m dead’, you’d better think twice and go hug your pillow more hours a night!