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Can a lack of sleep make us unhealthy?

By May 27, 2014 - 6:39am
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Sleep is the vital time when the body and the mind restore themselves. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll soon find that even the simplest daily tasks become insurmountable problems.

How much sleep do you need?
Experts agree that an average of seven hours per night is the required amount of sleep for most people. Some people need less, but if you want to function to the best of your abilities during the day your body and your mind have to have some opportunity to rest. A comfortable bed is essential; you cannot get a good night’s rest on a lumpy mattress. If you’re buying online, Divan Beds Centre and other outlets offer a wide range of mattresses and beds.

Lack of sleep can affect your health
According to the NHS you run the risk of heart disease and obesity if you don’t get enough sleep. There have been studies that reveal insufficient sleep can lead to changes in the body’s method of processing glucose, which in turn could result in type 2 diabetes. A recent article in The Huffington Post also suggests that sleep deprivation can result in genetic changes that will affect the immune system and your ability to cope with stress.

Sleep deprivation affects your ability to concentrate
Any parent with a baby is aware of the problems caused by endless sleepless nights or fractured sleeping patterns. Without much sleep you will find it difficult to concentrate, you’ll be grumpy, and your ability to act decisively will diminish. 21st century mobile global connectivity doesn’t help. If your work colleagues operate in a different time zone and you are constantly disturbed as a result of this, you won’t be able to rest sufficiently to be able to perform at your peak; a broken night’s sleep can be just as damaging as no sleep at all.

Your mental health is affected by your sleep pattern
Sleep and dreaming is a vital component of a healthy mind. The NHS carried out a survey that revealed that those who sleep for under six hours a day run the risk of anxiety problems and depression. Your mind at night can be compared to a washing machine, where the day’s problems are re-run and your subconscious finds a way to deal with them. If your mind doesn’t rest, you are building up potential mental health problems.

Sleep patterns of the famous
The former UK Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, used to boast that she only needed four hours sleep a night, but most people definitely need more. In an article in the BBC magazine, Professor James Horne from Loughborough University advises that: ‘it all depends if one gets a buzz out of what one’s doing. If you’re despondent you tend to sleep more; if you’re excited you need less. Margaret Thatcher was someone who felt on top of things.’ Many experts have agreed though, that her lack of sleep may have led to poor decision making, especially towards the end of her time in Downing Street.

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