Let’s face it, whether you're in a university, medical school or a working professional, we consider a lack of sleep as a badge of honor. We are living in a sleep deprived and overworked culture. And it doesn’t help when tv shows and movies, even romanticizes such act. In fact, 70% of adults in America aren’t getting enough sleep for at least a day in a month, and sleep related problems affects around 50 to 70 million people in America. We aren’t getting enough sleep. Hey, why sleep when you have …. when you have an upcoming exam or presentation. It’s kind of tempting to cram and make use of that few hours remaining to get that much needed information.
So, before you try and squeeze in one more hour preparing for a test, exam, recital or presentation that is due in just a few hours…maybe try and think about the dire consequences of being sleep-deprived. Hey, time management should be your best solution, not pulling an all-nighter.

So how important is sleep, here are some things you should need to know before setting up that alarm button:

1. Sleep on your emotions - Let’s face it, with so many deadlines, exams, presentations. we are constantly on our toes all the time. We live in a sleep-deprived society, and with so many things going around, it can really take a toll on our sleep. And when people are sleep deprived, things can get a little bit emotional. So how does having a good sleep affect our mood? In a brain imaging study conducted and led by sleep scientist, Matt Walker, They found out that the part of the brain, which is the amygdala (emotion and behavior). The results in the study showed the intense activity in the amygdala is more pronounced as compared to the group who got less than inadequate sleep. Surprisingly enough, the research also showed the harmonious communication between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala for people who had a good night sleep. While it is severed for those who did not get enough. This puts the body into hyperdrive or in a constant emotional state. If that doesn’t tell you how sleep affects your mood. Well, try sleeping only for a few hours and see how you would be at your workplace. So, get some sleep to avoid being too emotional outbursts.

2. Sleep boosts your Immune system - In order to keep us alive. Our bodies are equipped with both adaptive and innate immunity. This keeps the body free from harmful microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and even viruses (they are not living things actually). Sleep is very important when maintaining the body’s immune system. Making it in tip top shape. When people are sleep deprived, this makes your body prone to inflammation. Sleep also helps regulate various immune cells in the body. Sleep also helps reduce if not prevent rhinovirus (the common cold), boost vaccination and reduce the chances of getting Pneumonia. So it’s not just nutrition and exercise that can help you get fit, but sleep plays a role too.

3. Sleep improves memory & learning - When it comes to increasing the chances of survivability , or in this case, during a test or exam, having a good and well-functioning is important. The connection of sleep and memory follows a complex path, but a lot of research suggests how sleep plays into memory consolidation. Basically sleep provides an avenue for information to travel seamlessly between the brain, thalamus, hippocampus and cortex. Moving short-term memories to long-term through efficient redistribution. So if you are wide awake in the middle of the night, trying to memorize that heart and lung blood circulation or maybe practicing for that piano recital. Trying to cram as much information as possible all while losing potential sleep hours in the process. The brain and its many parts don’t have the time to move things around. So, go and hit that snooze button.

4. Sleep and Alzheimer’s disease - There will come a time, where we will age. It’s inevitable and one of the problems that come with ageing is memory loss. While lapses in memory or being forgetful are a common feature amongst us as we get older, especially among older people where they are prone to sleep disturbances, sleep apnea. Some research has shown that prolonged sleep loss can increase the chances of Alzheimer's disease. Poor sleep has been shown to have a detrimental effect on the brain, through the accumulation of a beta-amyloid, and tau protein. Even just one night of sleep deprivation has been shown to exhibit significant levels of these proteins in the brain. Elevated levels of this protein has also been observed (which becomes toxic) among patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.
The science of sleep and the research behind it , especially on how it affects the internal parts of the body like the brain and heart are getting more and more sophisticated. The results of these studies might sound depressing, especially in our society where there is an abundance of people that are overworked and sleep-deprived. But the silver lining to this dilemma, is the information is now available on why sleep is crucial for having a good life. So, make it a point to get our priorities in line and start focusing self-care, or in this case, sleep care.

This is A Blog Written by ACHV Balance
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