Do you have difficulty falling asleep ? Do you wake up at night ? Insomnia is a sleep disorder that concerns nearly 20% of people. However, sleep represents more than one-third of our lives and is directly linked to our health. Let's take a closer look at the causes and consequences of a chronic lack of sleep on our health.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be chronic or not. It is marked by difficulty falling or staying asleep. it can be caused by several factors.
Stress and anxiety
Stress or anxiety can cause insomnia and delay your sleep. In case of stress, the body will react and turn in "alert" mode by synthesizing a hormone called cortisol. This hormone could eventually alter the neurophysiological balance of the body and stop the secretion of melatonin.
The environment and lifestyle
Sleep disorders can be due to our environment that is not ideal for sleep: heat, artificial light, noise, night work ... Especially with the digital, it is tempting (very tempting) to stay in front of the screens and disrupt our sleep.
Other factors, such as a poorly adapted diet and/or insufficient physical activity can also impact our ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of our sleep and, which in the end lead to insomnia.
A chronic disease
Insomnia can also be the consequence of chronic disease (inflammatory diseases, fibromyalgia, hyperthyroidism...) or psychiatric disorder (bipolar disorders, depressive states, generalized anxiety...) disturbing sleep. Without the support of a doctor, this insomnia is, generally persistent.
The effects of insomnia on our health
When they are recurring, studies have shown that insomnia can eventually lead to various disorders that are harmful to our health and relationships.
Have you ever woken up in a bad mood after sleeping ? That's because sleep is involved in the regulation of our emotions. Chronic lack of sleep leads can lead to irritability and frequent mood swings. Insomnia affects different areas of our brain, including those involved in managing our emotions.
Difficulty concentrating and memorizing
Sleep plays a key role in learning and in storing our knowledge. Insomnia can lead to a deficit of focus, and memory loss, our relationships, and our intellectual performance suffer from this.
An increase in stress
There is a real correlation between stress and insomnia. The cortisol secreted in case of stress affects the quality of sleep and it creates fatigue which as a result, raises the production of cortisol and so on.
Repeated insomnia and sleep deprivation disrupt the synthesis of hormones involved during a meal and the storage of fat, such as ghrelin, leptin, insulin, and cortisol, which causes gain weight.
An increase in the appearance of chronic diseases
Several studies have shown that insomnia causes metabolic disturbances such as increased oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and inflammatory response, increasing the chances of developing certain metabolic disorders such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disorders or neurodegenerative pathologies.
A less efficient immune system
Sleep allows our immune system to function properly and to regenerate. Chronic sleep deprivation weakens our immune system and increases the risk of infections. An American study has shown that sleeping less than 6 hours a night could increase the risk of catching a cold by a factor of four.