Anyone who has been a university student or medical student or who has worked shifts will have at one time or other sat up until the late hours finishing assignments or working before trying to get a few hours sleep before starting another day. But very few people realise the toll that this lifestyle takes on your physical health and the potential problems it can cause.
People are being increasingly expected to pack more into their working day, leading to an erosion of the amount of time they have for sleep. It can become very difficult to have a good work-life balance. But there is a fine balance between enough sleep and too much sleep, which can also be an indicator of illness.
Lack of sleep can affect performance and mental acuity the following day, which will increase the risk of errors and hazardous working practices. The classic scenario is for students to stay up late cramming for exams the following day, but this is an exercise in futility as recall is impaired following a late night and the information is rarely retained for long. It has been found that the brain requires sleep for long-term memory retention.
Older studies found links between sleep deprivation and high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. More recent studies have found that people getting less than six hours of sleep were at significantly increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Other research has indicated that hormone production that is regulated by the endocrine system is affected by many late nights over time.
Having many late-night sessions over a long period can have an adverse affect on the immune system, which ultimately predisposes you to infections. People also tend to rely on caffeine-rich beverages to help them get through the following day. The use of these drinks has been associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks, some fatal, in the young and fit.
How Can You Protect Your Health?
It has been estimated that the optimal amount of sleep needed is seven to eight hours a night. However, if you need to sleep for nine hours or more, this may be evidence of another health issue.
While the occasional late night may be unavoidable for students, you can keep on top of your studies by doing shorter regular session as you go along. It’s also important that you don’t procrastinate when it comes to doing assignments.
If you are at work and trying to deal with any additional pressure, prioritising tasks and planning can help you cope with your work load better. It will require effort initially but will ultimately be beneficial.
Those who have a job that involves shift work can often find it hard to sleep during the day in preparation for the night shift. If you have this problem, make sure that your room is prepared and conducive for sleep. If the environment is noisy during the day consider using ear plugs to block out distracting sounds until a routine is established.
For more information regarding the impacts of sleep on your health and Single mattress’s, tweet @Scramboodle