Individuals who have an irregular sleep schedule can face risks related to their mental and physical health. While a typical workday for most is nine to five, many employees from different industries work outside this schedule. With this atypical schedule, people are at risk of having an irregular sleeping schedule.
Although it’s widely believed that shift work is necessary to maintain a modern society, it can also be associated with various health issues related to their irregular sleeping schedule and habits . Being able to reduce these risks is very important for working adults.
Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining a healthy and balanced body because it can also affect short-term and long-term health.
Risk of Atherosclerosis-related Diseases
The buildup of cholesterol and other substances in and around the walls of an artery is known as atherosclerosis. A recent study revealed a link between inconsistent sleep schedules and atherosclerosis. The study found that older individuals who frequently changed their sleeping schedule by an hour or two within a week were more prone to experiencing subclinical atherosclerosis.
The researchers analyzed the data collected from the individuals. They found that having an inconsistent sleep schedule was associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis-related diseases. These risks include fatty plaque buildup in the arteries, narrowed peripheral arteries, fatty plaque buildup in neck arteries, and thickness of the inner two layers of the neck arteries.
Heart Health and Inflammation
It’s widely believed that poor sleep habits can contribute to various health issues, such as inflammation and blood sugar changes. It’s been found that those who don’t get enough sleep, regardless of their age, weight, and lifestyle, are more prone to experiencing heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
According to the CDC, most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night to maintain a healthy heart. However, researchers also noted that the sleep cycle duration did not just cause the link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health. They also found that variability in one’s sleep schedule can affect one’s health.
Circadian rhythm or sleep cycle disturbance can affect the body’s ability to respond to inflammation. It can also lead to the development of atherosclerosis, which can cause a heart attack.
Effects on the Central Nervous System
The functioning of the central nervous system is critical to maintaining a healthy and balanced body. Without adequate sleep, it can affect how the body processes and sends information. The development and maintenance of pathways between nerve cells within the brain help you recall information. Sleep deprivation can prevent the brain from performing these essential duties properly.
In addition, poor sleep can delay the body’s signals to the brain, leading to accidents or mishaps that could have otherwise been avoided (such as car accidents, bike accidents or other accidents related to inattention). In fact, lack of sleep can be as dangerous on the road as driving drunk!
Insufficient sleep can also affect an individual’s emotional state and mental abilities. It can make them feel more impatient and prone to experiencing mood swings.
If people are not getting enough sleep, they might start experiencing hallucinations, which are representations of things that are not real. In addition, a lack of sleep can trigger mania in individuals with bipolar disorder. Anxiety, depression, paranoia, and impulsive behaviour are other psychological risks caused by poor sleep patterns.
Studies have shown that a regular sleep-wake schedule (combined with exercise in the sunlight first thing in the morning) is part of effective treatment regimes for depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue.