Did you know sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental health issues? This may be rather surprising for you, but it is true. Studies show that if your brain gets fatigued, your health and well-being is compromised. From mood swings to anxiety, flu to obesity a person who suffers from sleep deprivation can have a deteriorated health pretty fast.

How is Sleep Related to Fitness?

Studies show that most adult individuals need about 7-8 hours of sleep at night. If you sleep less than 4-5 hours, you can suffer from mental and physical exhaustion. According to research, your body gets time to renew and rejuvenate itself during sleep. This means that all the wear and tear that your body goes through is ‘fixed’ while you are snoozing. Hence the reason you must get adequate sleep.

If you aren’t sleeping enough for a day or two, nothing much would happen, other than irritability and inability to perform to your optimum. But if sleeplessness continues for weeks, your body stops working in the best manner possible. Studies have clarified that people who are unable to have a proper sleep are the ones who take more sick leaves because they fall sick more often.

But these are not the only problems that occur because of sleep irregularity or deprivation. Here are major physical fitness issues that you will face if you aren’t getting all your zzz’s.

Medical Conditions

Many studies have been conducted on how your health deteriorates when you aren’t getting enough sleep. It has been made clear that people who either have disruptive sleeping patterns, are awake most of the night or suffer from insomnia are the ones who are most likely to contract chronic diseases like heart problems, stroke, brain damage, diabetes and even liver dysfunction. What’s more, they are also prone to accidental deaths as well as death occurring due to severe medical illness.

Why does this happen? Because lack of sleep gives way to stress, which in turn cause spikes in blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Muscle Repair Hindrance

One study conducted on athletes showed that when they were sleep deprived, they could not perform well. However, when they had a good rest at night, not only was their performance affected but their general temperament changed too. When athletes could sleep well, their physical fitness improved significantly.

Researchers concluded that this was because the extraneous physical requirement drained them and caused fatigue to their muscles. Since muscles are best repaired when a person is asleep, athletes felt better immediately after a good night’s rest.

Impact on Brain Function

Your memory, focus, and concentration are affected if you haven’t slept well. Lack of sleep also leads to poor judgment, inability to deal with emotions and reduced ability to solve problems. These happen because the brain is tired and does not get the time to refuel with the rest a good night’s sleep gives it.

Skin Degeneration

How does this happen you ask? Notice yourself that when you don’t sleep well for a few nights, your eyes become sunken and puffy, and your skin loses its shine and becomes pale, while you also get dark circles under your eyes. This is one of the clearest sign of sleeplessness.

Low Libido and Lack of Sexual Pleasure

Low libido and lack of sexual pleasure are common health problems that people who suffer from sleep issues go through. Since the person is too tired, they either don’t feel aroused at all and cannot perform well in bed. This, of course, gives rise to relationship issues as depression among the sufferers of sleep conditions.

Obesity

Studies have also shown that people who experience sudden weight gain are ones who also have sleep problems. What is the connection between sleep and weight? The brain signals your body to stop eating when you are full through the release of certain chemicals. These hormones do not function when the brain hasn’t gotten enough sleep and this leads to weight gain.

Another reason sleeplessness leads to weight gain is that people who are sleep deprived each out to food for comfort and eat consume more calories than what their body requires.

So what can you do to improve your sleep conditions so that you remain physically and mentally fit? Here are easy tips for better sleep:

  • Switch off electronic devices preferably an hour before you lay down to sleep so your brain can relax
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This will allow your hormones to work to their optimum
  • Exercise every day as that invigorates the body and helps the brain function properly. It also tires your body down leading to sleep.
  • If insomnia gets worse, don’t shy away from seeking medical help. Perhaps one of the most exciting telehealth platform benefits is that you can consult your GP from the comfort of your own home.