By John Salak –
Sleep is a good thing. Get too little of it on a regular basis and all sorts of serious health issues emerge. There’s an increased risk of poor memory, lower concentration, heart disease, diabetes, low sexual drive, hypertension and weight gain, Healthline.com reports.
Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine now also reports that consistently losing an hour and a half of sleep nightly can damage immune cells, which may result in inflammatory disorders and cardiovascular disease.
The problems can be long-lasting and aren’t reserved by simply catching up on lost sleep time, the medical school added. All this underscores the importance of adults getting seven to eight hours of sleep daily.
“It (the study) shows that in humans and mice, disrupted sleep has a profound influence on the programming of immune cells and rate of their production, causing them to lose their protective effects and actually make infections worse—and these changes are long-lasting,” reported Filip Swirski, the study’s lead author.
All this is troubling enough, but now it appears that humanity’s ongoing problem with sleep could actually be undermining the foundations of civilized society—at least this is what scientists at the University of California, Berkeley claim. They claim the chronic lack of sleep blunts essential human attributes—generosity and a willingness to help others—and this is having real-world consequences.
Lack of sleep basically erodes an individual’s basic social conscience, making them more likely to withdraw their desire and willingness to help other people.
The university claims its study adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that inadequate sleep not only harms the mental and physical well-being of an individual but also compromises the bonds between individuals—and even the altruistic sentiment of an entire nation.
“Over the past 20 years, we have discovered a very intimate link between our sleep health and our mental health. Indeed, we’ve not been able to discover a single major psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal,” reported one of the study’s leaders Matthew Walker, a Berkeley professor. “But this new work demonstrates that a lack of sleep not only damages the health of an individual, but degrades social interactions between individuals and, furthermore, degrades the very fabric of human society itself. How we operate as a social species—and we are a social species—seems profoundly dependent on how much sleep we are getting.”
Eti Ben Simon, the study’s other co-leader, emphasized that the university’s work, which involved dual examinations of over 100 individuals, demonstrates the far-reaching consequences of sleep loss. “We’re starting to see more and more studies, including this one, where the effects of sleep loss don’t just stop at the individual but propagate to those around us,” said Ben Simon. “If you’re not getting enough sleep, it doesn’t just hurt your own well-being, it hurts the well-being of your entire social circle, including strangers.”