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Say “Yes!” to sleep: The problems with sleep deprivation


Grab your pillows, twenty-somethings. It’s time to go to sleep.

Yes, you, the person with her eyes wide open at 3 a.m., willingly watching re-runs of “America’s Next Top Model” on Oxygen. By refusing yourself that much needed sleepy-time, you aren’t doing your body any favors. Sleep deprivation, in fact, is wreaking havoc on your overall health–which you should definitely be thinking about that when you press play on that next episode as the clock moves past 4 a.m.

Now, maybe you are staying awake because you work late at night and do not have a choice to otherwise (and as unfortunate as that is, we understand). But, if you are staying awake once you are home, your body won’t thank you for it. By depriving yourself of the eight hours of shut eye you desperately need, you are putting your body under great stress. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. When we intentionally (or unintentionally for those with insomnia) stay awake for long periods of time, you put yourself at risk for eventually developing long-term health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or other cardiovascular problems.

And the potential health problems you could develop from not hitting the hay don’t end there.

WebMD tells us that any extremity of sleep deprivation can do a number on our cognitive abilities and mental health. Think about it: when you’re sleepy, you will become really cranky, and you aren’t as sharp as you normally are during the daytime. You snap at people for “no reason” at all; you probably don’t realize that you are even doing it in the first place. This is why going to sleep each night is so important. Without sleep, we are setting ourselves up for failure. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re less alert about your surroundings, and your memory probably isn’t the best during those moments. Prolonged sleep deprivation could potentially lead to depression, irritability, anxiety, and a pure lack of motivation to finish your daily tasks.

Why in the world would anyone want to NOT sleep? Not only is sleeping an eight hour (or more) reward for your long day at work, but it’s also something to keep your health in check. The next time you decide to stay up late, think it through. Hit record on your DVR for that all-night marathon–your body will love you once again for it.

Photo via Flickr

About the Author

Gina Kirby

Gina is a Co-founder of GenTwenty. She graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a B.A. in Communications. She currently works at IKEA as a Social Media Specialist.

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