London: In our seemingly always-on society, there's great temptation to shortchange sleep. But sleep is a vital driver of every physiological system in the human body, and when we're deprived of shuteye, health and well being can suffer in many ways.
Sleep is essential for growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesising hormones, among other functions.
According to Express.co.uk and Hope Bastine, psychologist and SIMBA Sleep's 'Think Well Sleep Well' ambassador, these are five health concerns that could be caused by lack of sleep:
Colds and flu: Not clocking up the hours asleep could leave you with a weakened immune system.
"When you're asleep, your immune system produces protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies and cells. It uses these to fend off foreign substances like bacteria and viruses," said Bastine.
She also stated that if people are not getting enough sleep, then their immune system doesn't have the same chance to rebuild its forces.
"It may also take you longer to recover from illness," noted Bastine.
Problems getting pregnant: A lack of sleep could also cause fertility issues if you are a man.
"Men who get too little sleep may be damaging their fertility," explained Bastine.
A 2013 study by the University of Southern Denmark discovered that young men who experienced disturbed sleep had sperm counts that were over a quarter lower than their counterparts who slept more.
Less sleep can affect women's fertility too.
High blood pressure: According to Bastine, people who are sleep deprived may be at higher risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening existing high blood pressure.
She added, "It's thought that sleep assists your blood regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system to remain healthy. Over time, a lack of sleep could hurt your body's ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure."
Weight gain: People who sleep fewer than six hours at night are more likely to be overweight-and show reduced levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, along with elevated levels of hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin-the large-scale.
"The amount of rest you get each night doesn't only affect your mood and productivity the next day," explained Bastine
Affects your skin health: If you're not getting good sleep, your skin may soon show it. Many previous studies have found a link between a lack of sleep and acne, perhaps related to how sleep controls hormones in your body.
She noted, "Studies have shown sleep deprivation could cause your skin to age faster. A good night's sleep can aid good skin health because when you're sleep-deprived, your body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol."
"Increased levels of cortisol can lead to heightened stress and inflammation in the body, harming your skin's quality."
Inflammation can in turn speed up the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give the skin its glow....