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This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is the unsung hero of health that seems to gain less attention in the media than physical health, for example. As sleep advocates ourselves (it's one of our favourite things to do), we're always looking for tips and ideas to ensure we're regularly hitting our seven to nine hours a night. An astonishing 7.4 million Australian adults reported getting inadequate sleep in a report by Sleep Health Foundation—a shocking statistic that deserves everyone's attention.

It's extremely important to be aware of how much quality sleep you're getting and to be tracking how that's making you feel because, over time, a few lost hours each night can catch up with you in major ways. Keep reading to find out what happens to your body when you don't get enough sleep.

Your brain is foggy

Planning an all-nighter to finish an assignment or presentation might seem like a great idea at the time, but when the next day rolls around you might find that you're struggling to remember what you had been trying to memorise in the first place. Even after just one night of interrupted sleep, activity in the memory centre of the brain (hippocampus) is reduced. This means that you'll find it harder to solve problems and remain focused throughout the day.

Your immune system weakens

By staying up late or skipping out on getting the required amount of zzz's each night you're not allowing your body to perform its natural healing process that takes place while you're asleep. Without the repair of damaged cells and the release of fighter cells, your body can become more susceptible to illness as a result.

Your mood changes

Have you ever stayed up all night and tried to power through the next day only to find yourself angry, irritated and downright depressed? Sleep deprivation can play a large part in your moods and the inability to regulate them, leading to more emotional responses to life's problems. Suddenly, peak hour traffic is unbearable and the world is out to get you. 

Your skin looks tired

While you're fast asleep tucked in bed, your body automatically goes to work producing human growth hormone, refreshing and repairing cells inside your body. If you're losing out on sleep regularly, collagen production decreases which means your skin can lose elasticity and firmness which makes us look healthy and refreshed. 

You're at higher risk

From heart disease and diabetes to high blood pressure, those who make a habit out of sleeping less are at a higher risk of developing certain medical conditions. If you are concerned about your physical health as a result of your sleeping habits, your GP will be able to help you devise a plan going forward.

Your reactions are slow

If you've ever experienced the terrifying feeling of nodding off while driving on the road, you'll understand how important getting sufficient rest is to both your own health and everyone around you. With a build-up of homeostatic sleep drive, you can slip into microsleeps which will completely inhibit your performance at work and make it dangerous to perform everyday tasks like driving. 

If you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan. 

Now that we're on the topic, follow these 7 surprisingly easy ways to become a morning person.

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