Why Our Body Needs Sleep & The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation


We spend about a third of our lives asleep,  whilst we are blissfully dreaming our body is busy doing some amazing things. We’re looking at just some of the reasons our body needs sleep and what effect sleep or lack thereof has on certain parts of the body.

The Brain

One of the important things our brain does whilst  we sleep is it has a clean up of all the waste produced during wakefulness.
According to sleep.org our spinal fluid is pumped through the brain at a higher rate whilst we sleep. This spinal fluid literally washes away things like toxic proteins and general waste created by brain cells. This waste your brain flushes out is even thought to eventually lead to dementia. This nightly spring clean so to speak leaves your brain uncluttered and ready to work and think efficiently.

Another important function your brain carries out whilst you sleep is processing things like memories. Your brain begins organising them, keeping important ones and discarding smaller unimportant ones from throughout the day. This process is what helps you remember big events like your wedding day for example and forget the smaller unimportant things.

So your brain does a lot of “tidying up” whilst your asleep, but aside from organising and cleaning up, your sleeping brain is also the reason you are able to learn so well in wakefulness.
During the sleeping state your brain works to restore information you have recently learnt that hasn’t been ingrained yet, this is called consolidation. This consolidation is important to boosting your ability to learn whilst you are awake as well as reducing the risk of further information loss. This can help greatly with things like language skills, so if you are trying to learn a second language or remember a speech getting enough sleep can be just the thing you need.

These jobs that your brain carries out whilst you sleep is critical to your brain running efficiently. However becoming sleep deprived can drastically alter the smooth running of our complex brains. Remember that brain fog after a few to many late nights? Well sleep deprivation shows noticeable effects on your cognitive functions. A study carried out on college students showed that sleep deprivation impacted cognitive functions such as reaction time, memory, vigilance and sustained attention significantly.

These are all incredibly important things you need to function correctly and even avoid accidents in your everyday life.

The Heart

Sleep plays an important part in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels, but with prolonged sleep deprivation the risk of eventually developing heart disease becomes a real issue.
The sleep foundation explains medical professionals aren’t completely sure why people who don’t get enough sleep seem to be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. However they do know it is a real factor leading to heart issues, regardless of age, whether or not you smoke or even exercise habits, prolonged lack of sleep seems to be one of the main catalysts.

Whilst The NHS states that long standing sleep deprivation is linked with an increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as higher levels of chemicals linked with inflammation which is thought to put more strain on your heart.

The Immune System

If you constantly have late nights and little sleep you may notice you tend to always get that cold or flu going around the office. That’s because our immune system relies on sleep to work efficiently.  Prolonged lack of sleep disrupts your immune system leaving you open to common sickness as your immune system is less able to fit it off.

The National Sleep Foundation explains that with sleep your immune system produces and releases a protein called Cytokines. This protein targets inflammation and infections kicking your immune system into action.
This also means that with prolonged lack of sleep you are missing out on two crucial developments from your immune system, which is likely why you become more at risk from illness.

Hormones & Insulin

Certain hormones can also be affected when you lose out on sleep, this is because sleep balances certain hormones in the body that control how hungry and full you feel. These are called Ghrelin & Leptin. Web MD explains that leptin is made by our fat cells and are responsible for decreasing our appetite as it signals to the brain that we are full, whilst Gherlin is responsible for sending a  signal to your brain that you are hungry.
The NHS warns that in sleep deprived people higher amounts of Gherlin are found (The hunger hormone) and decreased levels of leptin found (The hormone that makes you feel full). This imbalance is why sleep deprived people are at risk of developing diabetes. Where as getting the correct amount of sleep and not letting your body become sleep deprived balances these hormones leading to  healthy eating habits as well as being better rested. So take note if your are trying to lose some weight for summer getting the proper rest should be your first step to a healthier body.

Theses are just a few ways our body kicks into action whilst we sleep and some of the major effects these complex systems experience when we become sleep deprived.
So don’t forget, getting your recommended amount of sleep does a whole lot more than just making you feel properly rested.

What We Are Doing To Help

Our years of experience at being sleep experts are precisely why we have developed The Alma Mattress our own brand promoting the best night’s sleep possible. If you think your bed is causing you to lose out on sleep try the Alma mattress. The Alma comes with a 100 nights sleep trial so you can try the mattress for your self with no pressure!

The Alma mattress in a box is a pocket sprung mattress with cooling comfort layers of Gel Memory foam. The hybrid mattress is designed with comfort, support, pressure relief, temperature regulation and durability in mind. This is to promote a better sleeping experience allowing you to sleep longer undisturbed getting you the rest you need.

To find out more about the Alma mattress and how to buy one  click here.