“How many hours do you usually sleep?”
Over the course of their high school careers, many high school students are destined to be asked this question by their peers. Oftentimes, a tension in the air is felt as the students contend to see who sleeps the least in a sort of pointless competition.
However, what people, students in particular, generally do not understand is that a lack of sleep is genuinely detrimental to one’s health, and that there is no reason to endure few to no hours of rest on a day to day basis.
First of all, sleep deprivation has a negative impact on the mental health of a person. If a person habitually cuts out sleep from their schedule, their body becomes accustomed to the lack of sleep, which messes up their minds’ internal workings. This results in poor judgement that can dictate their everyday lives and cause them to make bad choices or commit idiotic mistakes and actions. Memory loss and an inability to focus are two major results of sleep deprivation. People who have minimal hours of sleep tend to forget a lot. Sleep deprivation impairs the memory and even the cognitive ability of a person (which basically is their processing ability). In other words, a person’s choice to endure only three or four hours of sleep on a daily basis leads to them making poor choices in other aspects of their lives.
Abstaining from sleep is extremely detrimental not only to a person’s mental state, but their physical health as well.
People who have a few hours of sleep on a routine basis experience eye bags and pasty eyes as well as lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles. This is due to essentially putting the body under stress from a lack of sleep; when a person does not get enough sleep, the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone which breaks down and neutralizes collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and supple.
Furthermore, a lack of sleep greatly stunts body growth as well.
“It’s during deep sleep—what we call slow-wave sleep—that growth hormone is released,” sleep expert Phil Gehrman, Ph.D. of WebMD, said. “It seems to be part of normal tissue repair— patching the wear and tear of the day.”
In addition to these already bad outcomes, sleep deprivation can potentially lead to weight gain and diabetes. The increase of the hormone cortisol not only leads to a breakdown in collagen, but lowers the levels of leptin and the additional release of ghrelin as well. Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain that a person is full or has had enough to eat, and ghrelin is a biochemical that stimulates the appetite. In conjunction, these lead to a greater tendency to eat more. Sleep deprivation also causes the body to release more insulin, which is a hormone that encourages the storage of fat and leads to an increased risk of developing type II diabetes.
Overall, sleep deprivation is physically and mentally bad for the body so everyone, to the best of their ability, should try to get the most sleep they can.