Late nights can make you sick – The importance of sleep

  • By Team TDO

These days, we find completely bizarre habits, as people between different time zones have suddenly become more accessible to one another. It means people in the economically weaker time zone generally are the late-shift workers.

There is more personal liberty than ever, and not to mention, gadgetry, which can do anything but help put the young off to sleep. Sleep disorders have become quite common in these times and it is something to be taken very seriously indeed, as you could wind up sick or dead.

Why blame late nights?

No matter if you belong to generation X, Y or Z, the fact remains that you are "only human" and your health depends entirely on the regular generation of zzzzzzzz or "shut eye" as it is popularly called. The body's internal rhythms or clock respond to light and darkness and staying up late confuses the internal rhythm, which slowly starts going out of gear.

The body is confused about whether it should release certain chemicals or hormones to help the body stay up or not. At night or in the absence of light, and as you sleep, the brain produces melatonin which is a powerful antioxidant, which laps up all the free radicals floating about in the body. The efficient production of melatonin is absolutely essential for fighting tumors and dealing with the stress that the body is subjected to when awake.

Most importantly, there is a link between healthy sleep patterns and immunity and perhaps it is the most important reason why people who stay up late nights tend to fall sick more often.

The lack of sleep affects immunity and the ability of the body to resist external attacks which can then spread to other areas and cause a complete anarchy in the body's functions.

Sleep deprivation can be absolutely fatal and is a leading cause of heart disease. Our circadian rhythms affect the body at a cellular level. One can well imagine what a disastrous effect it can have if these effects cascade outwards, as any disruptions in cell functioning will obviously affect the functioning of the delicate processes - the very give and take of signals between the brain and the vital organs.

A recent research published in the 'Science Journal' claims that the body doesn’t have one central clock that regulates every function, but various clocks catering to different zones or organs which in turn have their own timers for starting the release or the shutdown of hormones or other interactions.

So the timing of certain processes in one organ, say the heart, or the liver might depend on the efficient working of another clock, and once these times don’t synchronize, then there is a state of utter chaos.

Furthermore, the recommended 8 hours of sleep is absolutely essential for vital brain functions. Over time, lack of sleep can bring about mental disorders like depression, melancholia, confusion, and lowering of the cognitive function.

So whether you are a late night shift worker, or you are just a nocturnal person, remember - sleep deprivation is like playing with nature, and no matter how exciting the book or movie maybe, when the clock strikes ‘sleeptime’ - you need to switch the lights off, as melatonin is best produced in complete darkness.

And as you enter your dream state, protein NFIL3 in your body is doing its best to gently prod the immunity hormones in your body to be on full alert. Now you know exactly why sleep is known as nature’s restorative.

'Early to bed and early to rise' doesn’t just look good in proverb books, but looks great on you too. Sleep deprivation is a major killer and here’s why!