Sleep is one of the basic human needs. Like breath, food, and water. If a person is deprived of the opportunity to sleep, the negative consequences will not be long in coming.
Within a day, the ability to concentrate noticeably decreases, the reaction worsens, the number of errors in the performance of habitual actions increases by a third. After 3 days, the work of the hormonal system is disrupted, neural connections in the brain are destroyed. After another 2 days, behavior changes: aggression may occur. Hallucinations and delusions appear. After a week, speech becomes slurred, thoughts are confused, memory lapses become apparent. Hands and feet tremble with weakness so that a person is deprived of the ability to perform any action. However, he is no longer able to do anything consciously by this time. If the body is not allowed to sleep further, it will simply turn off or die.
The harm of lack of sleep
It is absolutely proven that the lack of normal sleep is fundamentally harmful to health. For example, the risk of developing diabetes and obesity is significantly increased. This is due to disturbances in the enzyme system of the body, which begins to malfunction if a person does not get enough sleep regularly.
The cardiovascular system also suffers, and the risk of getting chronic depression and weakening the immune system also increases. Even the intestines begin to work incorrectly: a tendency to constipation develops or, on the contrary, diarrhea begins. Experts also note an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia and hypertension.
Sleep related misconceptions
It used to be believed that the key to health lies in early awakening. Whoever gets up early, our ancestors said, God gives him. Actually it is not. Rather, it is not true for all people to the same extent. A lot of people work much more productively and creatively if they are given the opportunity to wake up later: at 9–10 o’clock. And there are not so many early birds.
Some elderly people and well-known politicians and businessmen proudly say that they sleep very little, no more than 4–5 hours a day. And this is enough for them to get enough sleep and work efficiently and achieve success all day long. Nothing is usually said about what such lack of sleep leads to. This includes emotional burnout, depression, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Most normal people need at least 8–10 hours. Involuntary sleep deprivation is especially detrimental to adolescents. As a result of constant lack of sleep, it is during adolescence that various mental illnesses begin, from anorexia or bulimia to schizophrenia and drug addiction.
It is believed that shift work is normal. The night worked — the day you sleep off. In fact, a failure in the normal, natural alternation of night and day activity is fraught with various diseases. After a month and a half, problems with the regulation of blood glucose levels can begin, and this is a sure way to type 2 diabetes and obesity. These dangerous phenomena are caused by a violation of the production of melatonin, which is also called the night hormone. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland only at night, in the dark, in a sleeping organism. There is also evidence that those who work at night are more at risk of developing breast cancer and stomach ulcers.
You need to sleep right
How much sleep do you need?
It is best to focus on the needs of the body. Usually, for good health, it is enough to sleep 7–9 hours at night. If you feel constant drowsiness, and even a long sleep does not bring relief, you should undergo an examination. You may have anemia, low blood pressure, or other medical conditions.
What to sleep on?
The place to sleep should be comfortable. Best of all, a classic bed with an orthopedic mattress of moderate hardness. The pillow should also not be too big and soft. Even the bed linen with which the bed is made is important. It should be hygroscopic, pleasant to the touch and clean.
In what position to sleep?
Most people prefer to sleep on their side with their legs slightly bent. This is the best position for pregnant women and for those who suffer from diseases of the joints and spine. With severe pain in the lower back and hip joints, you can put a pillow between your knees, this will relieve the pain a little.
If you sleep on your back, it is best to place a pillow under slightly bent knees. This will help to avoid morning stiffness in the lower back.
But somnologists do not advise sleeping on the stomach. With this position of the body, the cervical and lumbar vertebrae experience excessive stress, which will inevitably lead to pain and other unpleasant symptoms later. Especially if you have a large high pillow.
Do you need sleepwear?
It is best to sleep completely naked. But if you wear sleepwear, then you need to choose it correctly: loose, without tight elastic bands and hard fasteners, sewn from natural materials.