Sleeping late at night – know about all its side effects

New Delhi: We are often faced with the question whether we are an early riser or a night owl, and most of us have answered the latter. Sometimes, we take pride in saying that we work all nights, sleep late, and wake up late – what we call a ‘flexible lifestyle’. Be it work, studies, or maybe just watching a movie, staying up late at night has a lot of side effects that we are unaware of, or even if we are – we brush it off. Getting on time and getting enough sleep is a privilege we often take for granted.

Importance of sleeping at proper time in night:

There is an internal body clock that controls when you feel rested or drowsy. This 24-hour cycle is known as the circadian rhythm. You feel motivated when you wake up in the morning. Your fatigue levels increase throughout, peaking in the evening.

This need for sleep may be related to adenosine, an organic substance found in our bodies that breaks down during sleep. Adenosine levels keep rising throughout the day and our body gets tired.

The circadian rhythm is affected by light. The suprachiasmatic nucleus, a cluster in the hypothalamus present in our brain, is responsible for sending signals when our eyes are exposed to any type of light. We can tell what time of day it is by looking at the signs.

In the evening, our body starts producing melatonin. It is a hormone that makes us sleepy, while our body produces the hormone cortisol in the morning, which wakes us up and gives us energy.

Side effects of sleeping late at night:

1. Weight gain:

Our body’s metabolism relies heavily on sleep, and getting too little sleep can hinder this and cause your body to digest food more slowly. Even if you restrict your diet, it can cause you to gain weight. According to studies, people who sleep less than five hours are more likely to gain weight as compared to those who sleep for seven to eight hours.

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2. Heart disease:

In 2011, researchers found that people who get less sleep are more likely to produce chemicals and hormones that are linked to heart disease. Specifically, the risk of developing heart disease increased by 48% in people who slept less than six hours per night.

3. Stress:

The amount of sleep a person gets each night is related to their stress levels. Sleeping for too long also increases the risk of mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.

4. Amnesia:

When you don’t get enough sleep your body’s central nervous system gets stressed. The effects on your brain function can be devastating. Additionally, research has shown that many people’s memory loss is caused by lack of sleep.

5. Skin problems:

The overproduction of cortisol as a result of lack of sleep can result in poor skin health. The skin protein collagen, which keeps our skin smooth, is broken down by cortisol. It only takes a few sleepless nights to develop dark circles under the eyes. Regardless of age, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to dry skin and wrinkles.

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