Experts confirm it: we sleep less and less. According to the World Association for Sleep Medicine (WASM), “Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens the health and quality of life of more than 45% of the world’s population .” “Sleeping well is one of the three fundamental pillars to enjoy good health, in addition to a balanced diet and regular exercise,” explained the agency in an informative note. And according to Shirley Cramer, executive director of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), “Many say they only sleep four to five hours a day, but that is not something to brag about .”
Sleep – A vital function
Sleep has a vital function for the body (Canoë, 2014), but it also allows the person to distance from a situation.
Causes of lack of sleep
Several reasons can cause people to lack sleep.
Want to perform
The performance concern, among others, can cause a person to have too much work to cut down on his sleep. Similarly, midterm students often prioritize study or deadlines to the detriment of their rest. The concern for performance is not the only factor in a person’s sleeplessness.
People who are under a lot of stress often have difficulty getting to sleep; this is notably the reality of a caregiver; the illness of his loved one puts him under a lot of pressure, which causes the little mouse to keep spinning in his head.
A sleep debt
Also, sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea can cause a sleep debt. For example, people with a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, are likely to be significantly affected by this reality.
A person with depression, for example, may have difficulty getting to sleep. On the contrary, she may also sleep for several hours and still feel tired when she wakes up. Not having obtained a restful sleep, she remains in sleep debt; this is why it is said that rest acts as an indicator of a person’s mental condition.
Negative impacts of lack of sleep
“We know from various research that if you are sleep deprived, you have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression, ” Cramer told the BBC.
These are some of the ways that little sleep can affect your health.
At the physical level
“Lack of sleep makes us eat worse,” says Cramer. According to a study developed by the RSPH, more than a third of people eat poorly when they sleep little.
At the psychological level
The person being more tired will have difficulty concentrating; they may become irritable or make careless mistakes; their capacity for attention and concentration is reduced. In the same vein, as the reaction time is slowed down and the level of vigilance is reduced, a person who drives or works in an environment that requires a high level of attention will be at greater risk of a severe accident. (Canoe, 2014).
The ability to make informed decisions, lousy mood, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and changes in the intensity of emotions are also some of the repercussions of a lack of sleep.