Everyone knows the three things that define this generation - metal health issues, memes, and sleep deprivation. Millennials with steady jobs and college assignments know how little they sleep. 4 hours of sleep is considered a blessing when that should be dangerously too little.
Keeping in mind the trends of self-care culture and the endless maintenance of work-life balance, sleeping is not a priority for the typical millennial. Seeing that this is a basic need for any living person, it's obvious that the lack of sleep manifests in different ways - mental health issues, and physical health issues.
In a recent study done by FitBit, it was found that Indians have the most terrible REM sleeping pattern at a weak 77 minutes on an average night. Here's how this pattern affects us on the daily:
It's obvious that lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, annoyance and memory retainment issues. But other than that, sleep deprivation also causes a big impact on mental health. The results of one study (Yoo, Gujjar et al (2007). A deficit in the ability to form new human memories without sleep. Nature Neuroscience, 10(3), 385-392) indicate that a night of restful sleep may ‘reset’ brain reactivity in order to prepare for emotional challenges the next day.
Sleep deprivation then leads to perpetual "fogginess" in the brain and causes chronic illnesses like depression and anxiety. It also affects your emotional regulation - which is your ability to process and understand your emotions and deal with stressful or emotional situations.
Overall, lack of sleep can change your mood and make it more erratic, cause mental illnesses or leave you constantly fatigued.
Sleep deprivation heavily affects your body's natural processes. It not only affects your natural processes but it affects each and every functioning system in your body. For example, your digestive system depends on your sleeping schedule to control appetite and hunger. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Depending on the amount of sleep you get, it can either cause obesity or make you underweight.
It also affects your heartbeat and blood pressure immensely. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart. People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. One analysis linked insomnia to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Constant sleep deprivation is also linked to type-2 diabetes, according to a 2016 article published in the Oman Medical Journal. It suggests that if the body doesn’t get a minimum of six hours of sleep (eight hours is the ideal needed for metabolism to function properly), then the body’s glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity decreases, increasing the risk for diabetes.
It also messes up the endocrine system, respiratory system and immune system. All of the functions of these rely on your sleeping patterns and the lack of sleep could cause potential health risks for these systems.
Fertility And Reproductive Health
In both men and women, the same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones (such as melatonin and cortisol) also triggers a daily release of reproductive hormones. A 2011 paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that men who sleep for fewer than five hours per night on average have lower levels of testosterone. The drop in testosterone is linked to reduced well-being, low energy, and reduced libido.
Another 2015 study measuring the effects of sleep deprivation on women’s libido found poor sleep quality and short sleep duration caused poor sexual response and genital arousal in women. Some studies also link sleeping patterns to fertility and reproduction - since sleeping patterns do control reproductive hormones - lesser sleep may result in infertility in men and women.
Overall, the importance of sleeping patterns plays an important role in the way we function and our central nervous system. Delaying sleeping schedules or following erratic sleeping patterns can lead to a lot of complications and a lifetime of damage, it's best to squeeze in as much sleep as you possibly can instead of scrolling on Instagram.