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Sleeping and Your Body Health

Sleep is one of the most vital of your body health habits, almost as important to your body as staying hydrated! Appropriate sleep, however, is often thought “unnecessary.” Our society is riddled with sleep deprivation. Small children fight the chance to take a nap. College students stay up excessively late studying or partying. Working adults spend the late-night hours in front of the TV or working extra jobs. We take sleep for granted so often, though it is essential to our body health and well-being!

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Health? notes that your body can live a maximum of seven minutes without oxygen, approximately nine days without water and approximately seven weeks without food. Severe sleep deprivation may not seem as serious as starvation or dehydration and may not kill you immediately, but its serious repercussions could! During severe sleep deprivation the body becomes more susceptible to certain diseases, and because of this, the ultimate result of severe sleep deprivation could be not only collapse but also death. notes that severe sleep loss can cause a low grade inflammation in the blood, which makes your body more susceptible to serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Continuous lack of sleep can, over time, cause the likelihood of developing these conditions to increase exponentially!

Also during sleep deprivation, the flow of saliva in your mouth diminishes significantly. Though the bacteria that normally builds up in your mouth overnight is best removed by brushing, your saliva does help clean your mouth as well. However if you do not sleep, your saliva flow never gets a chance to rest, and the amount produced is less than ideal.

What College Students Need to Know

Sleep deprivation is often a dangerous habit pattern for college students. It is not uncommon for a busy college student to pull an average of one all-nighter per week every semester of college, in addition to other nights of inadequate rest. Staying up late in college can quickly become an addiction.

What college students may not realize is that constant sleep deprivation can create health repercussions down the road. Many students also experience immediate problems associated with not sleeping. A student's reaction time slows when he or she has not slept, which affects his or her safety and ability to interact with other people.

We asked one college student to summarize his habit patterns during sleep deprivation. He remarked “When I am not sleeping enough, my brain gets seriously muddled! I’ve been known to write my assignments in a half-asleep state, and then I don't recognize them once I’ve 'caught up ' on sleep.”

“My fatigued body gets confused at what time it is,” the student also said, “and I end up not eating sufficient amounts of food.”

Like this student, many sleep-deprived college-age teens develop destructive eating patterns when altering the body's normal routine. Many students either under-eat or overeat when they lack proper rest. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health has conducted a 13 year study that notes a correlation between teenage obesity and sleep deprivation! Other studies note that sleep deprivation may affect the body's regulatory hormones for both metabolism and appetite.

Whether or not you sleep a full night after you skip a night of sleep, your body can not fully “catch up” on its own. Though your body can eventually return to a balanced sleep schedule, the repercussions could be permanent!

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