If you’re on social media, you may have come across articles like “Why People Who Sleep Late Are The Most Creative” or “Why Late Sleepers Are The Most Intelligent People In The World”.
Well, I’m here to tell you that those articles are spinning balls of bullshit.
Many people sleep late these days, mostly because we have streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix where endless hours of entertainment are available at a few taps of our thumbs.
How can we possibly sleep before 3am when Netflix releases new binge-worthy shows every day?
So you choose to stay up, telling yourself you’ll sleep after the first episode. But then you’ve finished all six seasons of Game of Thrones before you realise that you’ve missed two weeks of work.
But is it really that bad to sleep late?
In a word, yes. Here’s what happens to your body when you sleep late:
Your Body Will Readjust
According to Bustle, it’s not just about the amount of sleep you get but also the consistency of your bedtimes.
If you’ve been sleeping late for a month, but you consistently go to sleep and wake up at the same time with good quality sleep, then you likely won’t suffer too many negative health effects.
Why? Because your body has readjusted to your new schedule. According to researchers, you should aim to get your rest between 10 pm and 10 am, so if you sleep from 1am to 8am consistently, then that’s a perfectly healthy schedule.
So, as Bustle says, if you want to be a night owl, be a consistent one and it’ll be fine.
Sleep Deprivation Will Make You Dizzy
If you’re an insomniac like me, you’ll know all about this. Insomniacs are a little bit like zombies – we do everything slower and when people ask us questions we just go “UHHH”.
But in addition to being irritable or slow, sleep deprivation will also make you dizzy. This is because your poor brain is attempting to get some rest and parts of it are shutting down to compensate.
Essentially, your body’s ability to balance will be negatively affected.
It’ll Affect Your Mood
We all know that insomniacs are not the most pleasant people to be around. But what if I told you that sleep deprivation can actually make some people feel better?
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I am, indeed. A meta-analysis from 2017 that looked at years of studies on sleep deprivation and mood found that 40 to 60 percent of the patients in the studies reported an antidepressant effect.
These patients felt a boost in their mood whether their sleep deprivation was for a few days or for a long period of time.
Conversely, other insomniacs may experience more depressive episodes.
It May Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes
This one’s a surprising one. Sleep deprivation may increase your risk of diabetes. That’s not because you’re sleep-eating all those chocolates under your pillow (though you should probably stop that).
When scientists in 2015 did experiments on dogs, they found that one night of sleep deprivation has the same impact on insulin sensitivity as six months on a high-fat diet.
The less sensitive you are to insulin, the more insulin your body requires and the higher your risk of diabetes.
The dogs in the study who had less sleep had significantly lowered sensitivity, which also affects energy levels and the body’s internal production of glucose.
I’m just wondering how these scientists found dogs who had trouble sleeping. Have you ever seen an insomniac dog?
You May Be More Likely To Get Sick
In 2017, researchers examined 11 pairs of twins and found that the twin who slept less was more likely to get viruses and experience other symptoms of a lowered immune system.
So there is, after all, a correlation between long-term sleep deprivation and a suppressed immune system.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is too weak to protect itself properly from infections and your immune system can’t operate at high efficiency.
This is why you’re more likely to get a cold after a bout of insomnia.
You Won’t Be Able To Recognize Expressions As Quickly
This one is pretty scary. If you’ve been sleep deprived for a long period of time, it may impair your ability to accurately read facial expressions.
Researchers in 2017 found that people who’d been deprived of proper sleep for a while couldn’t “read” the subtle expression on faces in photographs.
They could recognize obvious emotions like fear and anger but found it hard to interpret more muted expressions like a subtle smile or frown.
So, if you’ve been sleep-deprived, I wouldn’t suggest fighting with your partner because it’s not going to end well.
How can you get more sleep?
I’m not a sociopath, so I’m not just going to write an article about the negative effects of sleep deprivation without telling you how you can get more sleep. Here are some tips from Healthline that you can use to combat the invisible devil that is insomnia.
- Don’t consume caffeine late in the day
- Nap less in the daytime
- Sleep and wake at consistent times
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Don’t eat too late
- Take a relaxing bath or shower
- Exercise regularly in the day
- Don’t drink any liquids just before you sleep
- Don’t use your phone just before bed
If nothing else works, try reading a Goody Feed article and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.
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