Ways lack of sleep can affect your health

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Getting a good night sleep could easily be the most difficult thing to do especially if you are trying to meet a deadline, or binge watch on the last episode of your favorite sitcom or even read one more chapter of your favorite book. Most times, while trying to do all of these, sleep becomes the very last thing on our minds. But by doing this, we fight our body’s natural urge to go to bed, hence, setting ourselves up for anxiety, exhaustion and a myriad of other beauty problems.

Here are a few of the surface issues at stake: skin conditions, excessive hair shedding, and even damage to your teeth. Unfair as this might seem given your packed schedule, sleep debt and getting  less than the required amount of sleep (according to your age) impacts more in teenagers than in adults. This is mostly because; teenagers are still at that stage where their bodies are still growing and developing. Therefore, sleep helps their body repair, regenerate, and also rebalance hormones, which usually fluctuate between the ages of 12-21. When you disrupt or disregard the regenerative cycle, your body does not have adequate time to repair your skin every night.  That means, if you stay up for a couple of nights in a row, you increase and speed up your chances of premature aging. All these effects can compound to a serious health issue, and this is as a result of chronic sleep deprivation. Health issues like: decreased cognitive function, depression, mood disorders and memory impairment.

I believe a little justice has been done to explain how sleep deprivation can affect your health, here are more pointers to how lack of sleep can affect your health, just in case you need more conviction.

Dark Circles 

There are a variety of factors that cause dark circles, but sleep deprivation is probably the one that features prominently because that’s the one we are most familiar with. Dr Dennis, a renowned dermatologist and founder of of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare said “The human body’s response to stress is to redirect circulation to the most vital organs, including the brain.” “There is more flowing through the brain during sleep deprivation, and it causes engorgement of the veins under the skin of the eye, which then becomes dark.”  

 Acne 

You might not know this, but the less you sleep, the more likely it is for you to wake up to zits and unwanted breakout. This is because your body reacts to lack of sleep and sleeplessness the same way it reacts to fight or flight emergencies. The body perceives intense fatigue as a mild state of emergency. The stress hormones your body produces during an emergency, cortisol and adrenaline, can prompt a disproportionate amount of blood , oxygen, and nutrients to leave your skin to provide support for your major internal organs like heart, brain, and kidneys. Your oil glands hence, will also respond to this disproportionate production causing the chemical composition of the oil to become thicker and clog pores. These thicker and clogged pores result in breakouts.

Eczema & Psoriasis 

 In one word, how can sleep debt be responsible for tough-to-treat skin issues? Angiogenesis, which occurs when new blood vessels grow from pre-existing blood vessels. Angiogenesis is a decrease in blood flow that can be caused by lack of sleep. It tends to occur in wound healing, but it again pops up when you’re experiencing eczema or psoriasis. Also, the stress that comes with exhaustion tends to aggravate your complexion further.

 Dullness 

Know that healthy glow you get when you’ve just awakened from a luxurious snooze on the weekend? Now picture the opposite of that: the dull, tired cast your face tends to take on when you’re two seconds away from nodding off in your morning class. The decrease in blood flow that comes with lack of sleep decreases cell turnover. Think of it like this: the longer it takes to send fresh cells to the epidermis, the longer old and damaged cells will remain on the surface of your skin.

 Oily Hair & Scalp 

When you fail to get adequate sleep, especially when faced with important tasks like writing an exam, you sometimes forget to shampoo or condition your hair, hence the hair oil in your scalp which a little dry shampoo would have easily taken care of is neglected. While occasional sleep deprivation might not have many consequences on your hair, a chronic case of sleep deprivation can send your scalp into an oil overdrive. Recent research carried out showed that stress, which plays a big role in sleep deprivation, can encourage oil production by upregulating enzymes. This production leaves you with a flatter, less lustrous and bouncy hair.

 Hair Loss 

For the protein synthesis, as well as the proper release of growth and other hormones suitable for your hair and body generally, you need to get a healthy sleep routine.

Studies have shown that melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating your sleep/ a wake cycle has an effect on sleep and hair growth. Topical Melatonin is hypothetically believed to have the capability to increase hair growth, implying that a decrease in melatonin can subsequently lead to hair loss. That being said, you should try and avoid getting to the point where your sleep deprivation becomes chronic. Things like: eating balanced meals that include protein, using shampoos that are suitable for your hair and scalp, and meditating can reduce your stress level, hence help in regulating hair loss.

 Plaque Buildup & Abfractions 

The urge to snack is usually at its highest when it’s past bedtime and this is very unhealthy. If you are of the habit of midnight snacking for whatever reason it is, it can have a really adverse effect on your smile. For instance, when you snack at night, fragments of the food you ate sit on your teeth, and these results in more plaque buildup.

Even in a situation where you are brushing thoroughly, stress, especially from exhaustion can lead to teeth-grinding when you sleep. Constant teeth grinding mounts pressure on your teeth resulting in what is called abfraction, which is the wearing away of your teeth at the gum line. To prevent this from happening, you should get a night guard to prevent damage by grinding.

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