Sleeping late at night is a common routine, reasons being job appointments, exams, late-night parties, and even health issues such as depression, and insomnia.
However, sleeping late may not cause any serious effect on your health if it’s just once in a span of weeks. But in the longer run,it leads to sleep-debt (difference between how much sleep you need and how much you sleep).
To explain it more, let’s take the example of an average adult, who requires 7 hrs of sleep daily. But due to some reason or other, he sleeps just for 4 hrs, that particular night sleep added to his sleep debt of 3 hrs.
If he continues to sleep for 4 hrs in the coming nights as well, it will further add to his sleep debt adding to sleep debt by 21 hrs!
Sleep debt of 4-5 hrs can be balanced out on a holiday or weekend, but if it continues, more hours of sleep debt will keep on adding and it will become difficult for him to manage such a huge gap.
Sleep dept can have negative impacts on your health and gradually a time will come when your body and mind would not be productive enough even if you try the strongest cup of tea or coffee.
Sleep is the only time when your body repairs itself. Also, the Growth Hormone is released during the night time, hence sleep deprivation may stunt the growth and cell repair.
Other effects of sleeping late include
- Poor judgment and recalling skills
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weak immune system
Low immunity may lead to chronic diseases such as heart problems or diabetes.
If you do not feel tired even if you are chronic sleep deprived, it means your body and brain has adapted to less sleep, which has already affected your performance skills and mental ability.
Well, the immediate side effects of being a night owl include dull looks and a tired body, let’s get to know about the other lesser-known disadvantages of sleeping late.
Check this out – 6 steps to increase Immunity
7 Disadvantages of Sleeping Late in 2022
#1. Forgetfulness or Turning Blank
She: Hey Listen!
He: Ya coming 1 sec….yes what’s up?
She: Umm…. What was I going to say ?…. I forgot..! I’m just 35, and my memory is getting weak. OMG!!
Do such instances occur in your life frequently? Well…this is a sign of poor cognitive (thinking) functions of the brain that manages your memory, reasoning, and problem-solving or decision-making capabilities.
Your mind needs proper rest to appropriately store a piece of information or find a solution for any problem. This is known as Memory Consolidation, a function of the brain, to memorize any new information for a longer period.
Thus if you sleep late regularly, it may affect your thinking and learning skills. In a study published by the Journal on Adolescent Health, it was found that teens going to sleep before 11:30 pm scored better than those who slept late.
#2. You Become Prone to Heart Diseases, Diabetes, and Other Infections
During sleep, your immune system releases cytokines, a type of protein that produces antibodies against any foreign bacteria or virus. Sleeping late disturbs the body’s internal clock and thus disturbs the secretion of cytokines and leads to weak immunity.
You become more vulnerable to infections and diseases if you sleep late or are sleep deprived. As your immune system gets weak, your recovery rate is also reduced.
According to a 2013 study by Diabetes Care by American Diabetes Association, diabetic patients with late bedtimes were having poorer glycemic control, even if the sleeping hours were maintained.
Thus sleeping late is directly related to a weak immune system, heart health, diabetes, and many more.
#3. Lowers your Sex Drive
Your tired body and low energy when you sleep late, leaves you with no option other than choosing the sleep before sex. This may be Okay…if it’s not the same every other day. But if this happens regularly, it may affect your relationship with your partner who might be waiting late for you.
According to a study published by JAMA, men who were made sleepless for a week period showed decreased levels of testosterone ( sexual drive regulating hormone). Even the zeal and vigor were reduced drastically over the respective night of sleep unrest.
Sleeping late can cause fatigue and stress that disturb your circadian rhythm, which in turn disturbs the secretion of reproductive hormones. Hence, it can even lead to infertility issues or difficulty in maintaining a pregnancy, as published in Sleep Medicine.
Also read – best Iron supplements in India
#4. Your Work Performance Suffers
When you sleep late, certainly your sleeping hours get reduced as there will be an office tomorrow, a morning bell at the door, or otherworldly noises that might disturb your sleep. You might have slept late but the nearby people who have rested for the whole night, are now awake and performing their daily routines, which might disturb you.
According to Neuroimaging studies, the “sharp wave ripples” happen in the brain that consolidates the memory, when you are in deep sleep. Therefore the brain needs rest to store and manage information and if you do not sleep when nature wants you to sleep, it will be difficult for you to focus, and come up with new ideas or solve problems.
The response rate is lower and you could not react spontaneously to any new situation or challenge. Although you will complete your work, it will take more time than usual, and not upto your real caliber.
You are likely to feel sleepy during work hours and remain tired, fatigued and with less energy, which might make you avoid taking up any new assignment or challenge!
#5. Depression and Stress
Sleeping late disturbs the secretion of “ Happy Hormones” i.e Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphins. The decreased levels of these hormones promote feelings of pain and hurt and reduce the feelings of love, trust, well-being, and happiness.
People sleeping less than 6 hours are more likely to develop anxiety issues, mood disorders, OCD, and depression. Insomnia can happen due to prolonged stress, change of place, medications, or any ailment.
Spending some time in the sun, regular exercise, and meditation can reduce stress and elevate your mood leading to a sound sleep at night.
#6. More Tendency to Gain Weight than Loose
Your metabolism get disturbed if you do not sleep for the appropriate time i.e 7-7.5 hrs, which disturbs the secretion of 2 hormones – Ghrelin and Leptin, that play the key role in gaining weight.
Ghrelin is the go hormone that builds the urge to eat and Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating as there is no more urge to eat.
Ghrelin is released more when you are awake till late at night and you tend to eat more. As you are awake for late, Leptin released is less, which too does not send the signals of fuller appetite.
Thus when you sleep late, more Ghrelin = less Leptin = Eat more = Gain weight
If you are sleeping for 5 hrs or less, just try to sleep for 7-7.5 hrs regularly, and you will surely start loosing some extra kilos in a month. However, this does not mean that if you sleep more than 7.5 hrs, you will loose more weight !
#7. Your Skin Looses Youthfulness
Sleeping late often leads to disturbed sleep and less sleep. It stresses out your mind and body more and leads to secretion of stress hormone, Cortisol.
More levels of Cortisol decreases the production of collagen, a natural protein that regenerates and repairs the skin.
Less collagen eventually makes your skin look duller with more wrinkles, dark circles and rough texture. Your skin looses its youthfulnes at a very yong age!
Sleep deprivation also results in increased secretion of glucocorticoids, which triggers the inflammatory response on your skin, and makes you prone to more acnes, rashes and skin infections.
However, you can revert the effects of premature aging by just getting a good and sufficient sleep!
Also read – Vitamin C tablets for skin
You must be astonished by the larger effects of the most underrated necessity of your life- Sleep. Other than relaxing your body, sleep is essential for other vital processes of the body as well.
You might be sleeping late due to pending work but eventually you lose your capability to perform at work. So what’s the use of sleeping late?
As its said, better late than never. You can start from today onwards. It does not need any special preparation as all you need to do is just Sleep. Try to postpone your scheduled night work for tomorrow, and just relax and prepare your room for a calm, cozy and deep sleep.
You can dim the lights, play soft music or just meditate to sleep. Try to avoid caffeine or alcohol at least 4 hrs before sleep as they do affect the secretion of melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone.
Also take off your phone, laptops or LCDs at least 1 hr before sleep as the blue light from the screens delays the melatonin secretion.
Try the early bed routine for a few days and observe your energy and mindfulness. Do note down the changes and feel free to share with us, be it positive or negative.