Is Sleep Overrated? Here are the Facts

Aside from suckling, sleep is one of the first things we master in our infancy. As we grow, we quickly realize that not getting enough sleep on any one night often translates to a day full of grogginess.

Despite this, our daily commitments push us to cut down on sleep time. Eventually, sleep, for most of us, ends up being just another activity that we need to get over with at the end of the day.

The number of successful people who are proud of getting little sleep seems to be growing. These ‘’sleepless elites’’ as they have been branded claim to only need a fraction of the recommended amount of sleep to be at their best.

Take the example of Donald Trump, the current president of the US, or Martha Stewart, the chair of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, who only sleep for four or fewer hours.

 If they survive so well on so little sleep, are the benefits of sleep overrated? Can you routinely pull all-nighters without adversely affecting your health? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the Minimum Amount of Sleep You Should Get?

It is estimated that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. However, how much sleep is enough? The answer to this question depends on age.

 4 to 12-month-olds should get between 12 and 16 hours of sleep. Toddlers between 1 and 2 years, on the other hand, should get between 11 and 14 hours of Z’s. Children between 3 and 5 years should get at least 10 hours, while 6-12-year olds should get at least 9.

Teenagers should get between 8 and ten hours of sleep, while individuals older than that should get at least 7 hours. It is also important to note that while the quantity of sleep you get matters, you shouldn’t overlook the quality. If you get 7 hours of poor-quality sleep, chances are that the next day you’ll be just as tired as someone who only got four.

What Happens if You Deprive Yourself of Sleep?

As it turns out, getting too little sleep can adversely affect you both mentally and physically. Some of the symptoms you might experience after a poor night’s sleep include fatigue, irritability, difficulty focusing, poor memory, and mood swings.

The body systems that take the biggest hit are the immune system, cardiovascular system, and the central nervous system. It is important to note that the effects of sleep deprivation are not confined to the short term. Not getting enough quality of sleep also increases the risk of long-term health complications such as diabetes, obesity, stroke, depression, psychosis, hypertension, and anxiety.

What Happens When You Sleep Enough?

Getting enough sleep has far-reaching benefits for people of all ages. First, good quality sleep enhances concentration and productivity. Children benefit a lot from this, as it has been shown that children who get better sleep are better behaved, and perform better academically.

Emotional and social intelligence is also bettered because the brain’s ability to recognize and respond to emotional stimuli is enhanced.

Getting enough sleep also reduces the likelihood of getting depression and the risk of obesity. It is thought that sleep does this in two ways; by helping you better regulate the number of calories you eat and by reducing the likelihood of weight gain. Good quality sleep also lowers the risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and helps your body maintain a strong immune system.

The Bottom-line

Is sleep overrated? No, it is not. Getting enough sleep has a whole host of benefits to your body. In the same way, depriving yourself of sleep exposes you to a lot of health risks. Save yourself unnecessary trouble in the future by routinely sleeping well. You can concentrate on your daily tasks better, as your brain is well-rested, and at the same time, you’ll be keeping many diseases at bay.

Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay 

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