Are you aware of the awful effects of under-sleeping and the subtle, yet long-lasting implications it can have on your life? Well, most people aren’t.
It’s the 21st Century and we have this crazy technology with us all the time - iPhones, laptops, tablets and easy access to Facebook, Netflix and Instagram. Most people can’t go to dinner without having their mobile on the table, as these things have essentially become an extension of ourselves. However, this technology is seriously affecting our sleep patterns.
A study comparing the Western world’s use of electricity versus the preindustrial societies that functioned without electricity has found a big difference and correlation between the exposure of light and consequential sleep patterns.
Essentially, subjects who lived in an environment mimicking preindustrial societies were exposed to darkness for around 11 or 12 hours every night. This is because the only light sources they were exposed to were light from wood fires - which are not disruptive to our sleep. In contrast, those who were living in industrialized Western countries were exposed to darkness only as long as they slept, which is usually around seven hours.
This had a shocking effect on the subjects’ sleeping behaviors. Those who lived in the Western industrialized countries may have had as little as five-and-a-half hours sleep. Those who lived in the mimicked preindustrial environment, with no access to electrical light, had a restorative eight hours of sleep as their precluding exposure to darkness ensured the hormone melatonin was released.
So, what are the negative effects of under-sleeping?
The negative effects of under-sleeping have much more of a wide-reaching effect on your life than you would first imagine. Often, sleep is not considered in the overall success of your life but there are so many subtle ways that a lack of sleep can creep in.
Say if you went to sleep last night without your blue-light blocking glasses, and you were watching the last amazing episode of Game of Thrones’ Season Six (no spoilers here). Your body didn’t release the healthy amounts of melatonin because the bright reflection of Jon Snow’s pasty white skin was telling your brain and circadian rhythm that it’s still sunny outside, and you end up getting five and a half hours sleep.
You go to work the next day, and your boss tells you to do a simple, yet important task, such as working out the sales revenues from quarter one of this year. But you’re so tired and you’re easily distracted, so you end up messing this up. Two days later, he calls you into his office and shouts at you because you made a crucial mistake. This year’s promotion and your trip to Miami with your friends is now looking gloomy.
This was a simple example of how just one night’s worth of bad sleep, or a bad decision, can have profound effects on our lifestyles, general success and happiness.
Interestingly, a 1997 National Sleep Foundation poll estimated that $1.8 billion in work productivity was lost to sleep disorders and sleep debt that year.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, memory, decision-making faculties, attention and patience are just a few of the limiting issues with mental performance when you have a lack of quality sleep. These negative effects are somewhat like a glass wall on your brain which limits the functionality and ability of your brain to perform at high levels. They also make imperative work such as studying and working a difficult task harder for you, ultimately affecting your performance.
Chronic Sleep Debt
‘Chronic sleep debt’ can be defined as the hours you fell short of within the eight-hour sleep (or whatever is optimal for you), which is accumulated over time. For example, if you spend five days in a week, one hour short of sleeping each day, then this will lead to a sleep debt of 5 hours.
A common form of compensation for poor sleep is making up for it at the weekend. However, this is not an effective way of dealing with sleep debt because you can’t physically counteract five, six or seven hours of sleep by adding it on in just two days. It’s best to get it right from the start and sleep at your optimal duration throughout the night.
Being low on sleep also severely impacts your interpersonal relationships. This is because when you are under sleeping, you are more irritable and often in a bit of a haze which makes you easily reactive. When you’re tired, you aren’t always you, you’re just a worse version of you which other people see.
According to the Better Sleep Council, physical agility, energy and coordination are negatively impacted when you get poor sleep. Moreover, your cardiovascular endurance, reaction times and heart functions are also very much affected when you don’t get good sleep. Whether you like to lift weights or whether you're more of a runner – lack of sleep can really affect your fitness, your gains and your general health and well-being.
If you want to have deep REM sleep and knockout like a baby, make sure to grab your pair of Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses today!
By Joshua Roobottom