Medical and scientific studies claim that not sleeping well can have serious consequences on our physical and psychological well-being. These experts also recommend a rest of between 7 and 8 hours daily to avoid the negative effects of lack of sleep, such as irritability, depression, anxiety or headaches, among many others.
Unfortunately the current frenetic pace of life pushes us to acquire habits that are not always healthy for us, and in the midst of this chaos we do not find time to rest properly. In this way we easily develop insomnia problems.
In the first place we have to distinguish, generally, between two types of insomnia:
1. Transient: occurs for a short period of less than one month and can lead to chronic insomnia.
2. Chronic: prolonged beyond six months and can become a serious problem for our health.
The causes that cause one or the other can be very varied and of different nature. We divided them into three groups:
1. Organic causes. They include diseases and their symptoms, such as physical discomfort or pain. Also disorders of the metabolism (hormonal, digestive, neurological, etc.).
2. External or environmental causes. They refer to poor eating habits (excessive consumption of sugar, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol …) and inadequate environments. For example, noises in our rest space or other sensory stimuli. Changes in schedules and sudden routines can also cause sleep disorders.
3. Emotional or psychological causes. Insomnia is often given by situations of stress, anxiety, sadness and other emotional and psychological imbalances.
Side effects of not sleeping well
Not sleeping well deprives us of adequate rest, which entails serious consequences for our physical and mental state.
1. Lack of concentration. Tiredness prevents us from focusing on our daily chores. And is that during the REM phase our brain orders and selects the information acquired during the day; without that process, it costs us enormously to acquire new knowledge. This also negatively affects memory. All this increases the risk of accidents.
2. Weakening of the immune system. If our body does not rest properly, the immune system weakens. This increases the risk of colds, flu and respiratory infections.
3. Risk of overweight and anxiety about food. Not sleeping enough, the levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, undergo considerable changes. This increases our appetite, so we are more likely to consume more calories during the day. In addition, the cells of our body will be less tolerant to glucose, which favors the onset of diabetes.
4. Psychological disorders. Sleep deprivation makes us feel emotionally bad, leading to symptoms like irritability, anxiety, moodiness, fatigue, depression and melancholy. Our reactions to day-to-day situations become disproportionate.
5. Heart disease. Experts associate lack of sleep with increased hypertension and clogged arteries. Sleeping a little causes our heart rate to increase, causing the heart to suffer from overwork.
6. Premature aging. The skin is highly affected by sleep deprivation. It is frequent the appearance of dark circles, wrinkles and spots, since the tissues can not regenerate properly at night and the process of hydration is insufficient.
7. Increased risk of cancer. Continued interruptions at night alter the chemical process of macrophages, cells that fight against tumor cells. They stimulate its growth, so it increases the risk of some types of cancer, such as the appearance of colorectal polyps and breast cancer.