No matter how much we hear that sleep is crucial for our health, it seems many of us still don’t get enough of it. Usually, this lack of sleep is due to the modern lifestyle, particularly its demands that take so much of our time.
It could be the amount of daily work that makes us stay up late at night, or it could be the demands of family life. Either way, we end up sleep-deprived.
Not getting enough sleep increases the risks of heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Sleep deprivation impairs our attention, cognition, and decision-making which could lead to a fatal accident if you're on the road, for example.
The risks that stem from sleep deprivation are often discussed in various media outlets. What's not often explored, however, is how sleep deprivation can lead to hormone imbalance.
Note that the endocrine system is most active when the body is asleep at night. So, as you’d expect, it’s during nighttime sleep that testosterone production is at its highest in men.
This is why sex drive and erections are stronger when you wake up in the morning. Simply put, not getting enough sleep at night could reduce serum testosterone by more than half the next day.
Aside from not having enough time for quality sleep, the amount of time you spend in front of LED screens could have negative effects on both sleep quality and circadian rhythm.
This is due to the blue light that LEDs emit. Nighttime exposure to blue light actually reduces sleep quality and lowers the levels of melatonin (the main sleep hormone).
The body responds to blue light this way because it mistakes it with sunlight. This makes it difficult for the body to tell apart night from day, and results in a confusing loop of messed up hormone production. Cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone, is one of the first to suffer.
Unfortunately, we are exposed to such light during most of the day, every day. Avoiding it is almost impossible given how important smartphones and computers have become, especially in communicating with co-workers and family members.
Since these problems are part of daily life, many people remain unaware that their hormones are no longer in balance. Luckily, there are proven ways to mitigate this, but the real challenge lies in becoming fully aware of the root issue.