Sleep is more than just a relaxing and pleasurable activity, or to put it more precisely, a cessation of activity.
There is a growing body of evidence to show that lack of sleep; in particular lack of restful sleep, can have negative consequences on one’s health and wellbeing in the short term as well as the long term:
Short term impact of sleep deprivation
Your performance at work may suffer. Overall productivity as well as the quality of output could follow a downward slide. Daytime alertness can be significantly impaired by inadequate nighttime sleep. You may even find that your problems solving abilities don’t seem as quick and that your memory is not what you expect.
Insufficient rest means that the body doesn’t have the kind of vim and vigor that it needs for the day’s activities and this includes your workout or fitness regimen. Feeling tired or listless will put you off your workout and consequently cause setbacks in fitness.
There is also a greater chance of having accidents among those who are sleep deprived and have lower alertness and more sluggish reflexes. This applies to auto accidents as well as occupational and other accidents.
Then there is the fact that one’s relationships could be affected due to the irritability and bad moods that lack of sleep can cause. Spouses, friends and family may grow weary of tolerating mood swings and loss of temper and this could have place undue stress on a relationship.
Long term impact of sleep deprivation
There is evidence to show that those who are chronically sleep deprived are at a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and even suffer sudden heart failure and stroke.
Lack of restful sleep results in higher stress hormone levels can wreak havoc in life. We now know that stress hormones are closely linked to weight gain and obesity, particularly the sort of weight that we put on around the midsection or abdomen, which is particularly bad for health.
Other long term consequences could be those that affect your mental health and put you at greater risk of developing depression and other mood disorders and problems that may need psychiatric attention.
However the good news is that the impacts of inadequate and improper rest are not always permanent, and with behavior and lifestyle modifications, it is possible to reverse at least some of the negative consequences upon health, fitness and overall quality of life.