By Londiwe Madondo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 1 of VARSITY News.
Late nights are proving to be a big issue these days as they have detrimental effects that influence all aspects of our lives.
There are quite a number of factors causing this habit of staying up after one’s bedtime. These factors differ with respect to different age categories, with social media addiction being the most prevalent in youth, particularly students, and work-related stress in older persons who work. However, the most common factor in all the age distributions is stress. According to research by Sleep.org, when one is encountering stress, one gets anxious, which makes it difficult to relax one’s mind and prepare for sleep. Thus, some people find themselves taking medication to help them sleep.
Late nights can drastically influence one’s health and fitness goals. It increases the chances of diseases (commonly heart diseases) and obesity. It has also been shown to weaken the immune system as the body does not have the energy to ward off bacteria and viruses. This explains why we usually fall sick when we’ve been sleep deprived. Moreover, late nights can also reduce one’s attention span and cause endless headaches and dizziness.
One of the students interviewed, Nokubonga Giceka, confessed that she consistently used to stay up past her bedtime as a first year trying to catch up with school work and would have to wake up early for morning classes as well. As a result, she found herself gaining weight. This was likely because her fat metabolism was interfered with as her body was failing to adapt to the sudden change of routine. Sleep deprivation and weight gain often go hand in hand. According to research by wellness company BoldSky, catabolism (the type of metabolism process responsible for molecule breakdown) does not take place efficiently in the body and fat cells build up. Additionally, Nokubonga found herself missing out on her morning jogs due to exhaustion, which is also another way that sleep deprivation can get in the way of one’s health, fitness goals and routine.
I’m so tired all the time and they say exercising helps that but like I’m too tired to exercise so do you see my problem?
— grace (@imhereforthis_) August 3, 2016
Keeping fit and healthy is vital for productivity in the space of work or learning. Hence, giving our bodies enough sleep and exercise helps maintain healthy minds and keeps them functioning at their best. After all, healthy minds are in healthy bodies.