Sleeping is a natural steroid that everyone needs to get on!
One more reason to get a good night sleep!
We all know that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night is not ideal for our general well-being — lack of sleep is tied to long-term health risks like developing diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and other issues. But while all the ill health effects caused by lack of sleep are serious, some of them are so weird, it’s pretty interesting to know them (even if it just gives you more to panic about/ lose sleep over). So read on to check out five of the weirdest things lack of sleep can do to your body.
1. Your Brain Thinks You’re Drunk
Surely you’ve noticed some of the similarities between sleep deprivation and being drunk — the confusion, the inability to focus, the brutal cravings for nachos. But lack of sleep can actually impair your cognitive functions so badly, it’s basically the equivalent of actually being too drunk to legally drive. According to a 2010 National Georgraphic article based on research by Harvard’s Charles Czeisler, “going without sleep for 24 hours or getting only five hours of sleep a night for a week is the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.1 percent.” How much booze is that? According to this chart of blood alcohol limits, that’s the equivalent of consuming four or more drinks, depending on your weight. So that part of a Friday night out when you try to climb on stage to do karaoke, only there’s no stage or karaoke machine, because you’re actually at a pizza place? Yeah, that’s where you’re at mentally after a week of pretty bad sleep.
2. You Have A Harder Time Fighting Off Infections
It’s harder to do most things with an exhausted body — and that covers everything from playing some video game where zombies are trying to eat your face to fighting off a cold. But while being unable to evade those video zombies and their face-nomming maws may be frustrating, the cold thing is probably what we should be concerned about — and according to a 2009 study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, people who sleep less than six hours a night are four times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep for seven or more. So when you get super sleepy, even your white blood cells are exhausted.
3. Your Memory Gets Worse
I’m not saying a night or even a week of crappy sleep will turn you into the dude from Memento. But studies have shown that long-term lack of sleep can damage your ability to correctly remember things and form new memories. And a 2014 study conducted by Harvard’s Nurses Health Study found that people who slept five hours or less every night were actually functioning at a memory level two years beyond their actual age — which is not necessarily something you want when you get older, and memory functions decrease in quality with every passing year. But the weirdest part? They found the same problem among people who regularly slept more than nine hours a night. So you just can’t win…or, I guess, you can win, if you sleep seven to nine hours a night.
4. Your Sperm Count Drops
I mean, if you already have a sperm count, it drops. Consistently missing out on sleep certainly doesn’t cause you to suddenly develop a sperm count to begin with, of course. But if you were packing a load of little swimmy guys before, after a prolonged period of sleeplessness, you might be packing a few less of them. A 2013 Danish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiologyfound that men who experienced a lot of sleep disturbances has 29 percent less sperm in their semen than dudes who were able to get a solid eight in each night. Though researchers aren’t yet quite sure why lack of sleep equals lack of sperm, if you’re looking to fill your oven or someone else’s with a bun in the near future, it’s worth keeping in mind.
5. Your Libido Tanks
But maybe you won’t even notice anything about your sperm or lack thereof — because sleep deprivation can also prevent you from getting horny in the first place. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011 followed a group of ten young men, who slept five hours a night for one week. At the week’s end, researchers found that their subjects were unable to concentrate, had low energy, and were resolutely unhorny.
Here are some reasons to take your ass to sleep, here are more benefits!
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.