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How Sleep Deprivation Can Create Serious Risks

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us hate to admit it, but we do stretch things as we attempt to cover all of the bases. Family, work and numerous other demands drive a hard bargain and stretch us a bit thin. They all want, need, and deserve attention. This can lead to ‘round the clock use of laptops and smartphones, tons of espressos, and a cavalier attitude that “we can do it.” Indeed, many of us can and do “do it,” but at what cost?

Sleep Loses Out

Sleep can become the ignored health component in our daily schedule. Eating healthy and staying fit are well accepted, but skating by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep gets a pass. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Sleeping in on weekends or napping probably won’t solve it when it comes to functioning and quality of life.

Recently, looked at some fairly startling research on loss of sleep from Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School. See what you think.

Lack of sleep looks and feels like too much wine - A study published in the Harvard Business Review by Julia Kirby suggests sleep deprivation resembles functioning when drunk. Staying awake to pound out work can be similar to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent.

Everything moves off center - Harvard Medical School says it can change moods, slow down focus and severely limit high-level thinking.

The door to disease opens - Over time a sleep-deprived person is at greater risk for disease, according to Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine.

The pounds add up  - When the body’s hormonal balance is disturbed by lack of sleep, metabolism, appetite and sugar levels are impacted, which leads to cravings for carbohydrates and sugary foods. The end result is a higher body mass index.

Heart attacks can happen – Recently premature death from cardiac arrest became a reality for some employees who did “all nighters” for three days in a row, according to Harvard Medical School.

Loss of sleep links to mood change – Sleep specialists say worry and irritability can happen after a single sleepless night. When individuals fail to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis, serious mood changes such as depression and anxiety can develop.

If you find yourself slipping into risky sleep patterns, take some time off to restructure your sleep, or make a day-by-day effort to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of needed sleep. See your doctor if sleep issues persist. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dacula, Ga.

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