“I’m working on just five hours of sleep!”
I’m always shocked when I hear people bragging about this…as though it’s a badge of honor or a prize they’ve earned.
And in today’s hustle and bustle, I guess some people might see it as one. It’s actually a very sad reality, because many people don’t realize just how detrimental it can be to your health.
Let’s call it by its real name: Sleep Deprivation.
The truth is, not getting enough sleep is one of the most unhealthy and dangerousthings you can do to your body.
You see, chronic sleep loss can put you at high risk for a whole slew of different health issues that put your life in serious danger.
In fact, a British study found that people who cut their sleep down to 5 hours a night have doubled their risk of death – resulting in a much higher mortality risk than is caused even by smoking!
To make matters worse, several studies have also found a shocking link between sleep deprivation and certain kinds of cancer.
It turns out that melatonin (the neurochemical which sends the signal in your brain to start resting) actually protects against cancer by preventing harmful tumor cells from growing in the first place.
Your body produces melatonin during the sleep cycle…and if you cut the hours you sleep, you don’t produce nearly as much.
That lack of melatonin also throws off the balance of other hormones – things likeleptin, ghrelin, and cortisol.
You probably recognize cortisol as that evil hormone that triggers hunger and stimulates fat cell growth in your waist. Leptin and ghrelin also play vital roles in hunger and digestion…having imbalanced levels of these hormones can have some seriously detrimental results.
With higher levels of ghrelin and cortisol, your body will start craving fattier foods. Sleep deprivation simultaneously causes leptin levels to plummet, which affects your body’s ability to register when you’re actually full.
As a result, sleep deprived people end up eating much more than those who get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night…
…in fact, people who sleep less eat almost 300 more calories every day.
This adds up to an astonishing two pounds of weight gain every month – which means skipping out on sleep can cause you to gain more than 20 pounds a year.
In addition to putting you at high risk of cardiovascular complications like heart disease or high blood pressure and increasing your risk of cancer, chronic sleep loss may very well be the reason why people start gaining so much weight as they get older.
So the next time one of your friends brags about how they “only need 5 hours of sleep” to function, gently remind them of the serious health risks involved.