Missing out on the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep does more than make you feel tired and cranky. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at a real risk. Science has linked poor sleep with several health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system. So, let’s make sure you avoid them altogether.
The Detrimental Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The consequences of sleep deprivation are genuine. Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life. A review of studies in 2010Trusted Source found that sleeping too little at night even increases the risk of early death. To sum it up, here is how sleep deprivation affects our vital systems.
Central Nervous System
While we sleep, our brain creates bonds between neurons that help us remember the information we’ve acquired during the day. Therefore, the lack of sleep directly affects our memory attention and productivity. Besides our mental abilities, our emotional state is being harmed as well, because being sleep deprived makes us prone to mood swings. It can also compromise our decision-making processes and creativity. Moreover, it can lead to:
- impulsive behavior
- suicidal thoughts
A lack of sleep is particularly dangerous for people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorders as it can trigger their condition. However, it can be dangerous for everyone as you may end up micro sleeping which is when you block out for a second without even realizing it, and this can happen while we’re driving.
While we sleep, our immune system produces substances like antibodies and cytokines. They protect us against foreign invaders and soothe inflammatory processes. Without quality sleep, our immune system becomes weak. Its army is disoriented and cannot perform the task it has been designed to do. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic conditions and will prologue your recovery time.
Besides making you want to eat more and leaving you too tired to exercise, sleep deprivation makes you more prone to obesity. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. When these levels get messed up, you end up having cravings late at night. Try a vegan diet to help eliminate these hormones, and get a better night’s sleep.
Quality sleep is essential for your heart health as it plays a vital role in repairing your blood vessels and keeping your blood pressure stable.
Quality sleep is essential for the proper functioning of your hormones. For example, healthy testosterone levels require at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Moreover, sleep disruption can also interfere with growth in children. These are essential hormones as they also help the body build muscle mass and repair tissues and cells.
The story goes on and on, but you get the idea. The bottom line is that your body has essential things to do while you sleep. We spend an average of 26 years of our lives sleeping for a good reason!
Tips for a Better Sleep
Quality sleep is all about simplicity. First, you need a soothing and peaceful environment, with all the benefits of our smartphones that we cannot imagine our lives without, they are not our friends when it comes to quality sleep. So, make sure you limit the phones in bed and turn them off at least an hour before bedtime. If you add quality sheets that improve your comfort and blackout curtains that will protect you against street lights, you’re in for a treat. Moreover, these curtains will also insulate your home and help you save on your energy bill.
While you’re at it, adopt some energy-saving habits such as keeping your devices turned off while you sleep. These simple two steps alone can bring you significant savings that you might end up even finding a better deal to suit your usage as there are countless Maryland electricity rates. The more you save, the more peaceful your sleep will be.
Then, there are simple steps you can adopt to enhance your sleep further:
- Limit or entirely avoid daytime naps
- Try not to drink caffeine after 5 pm
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time – our bodies love routine
- Create a pre-sleep ritual such as a relaxing bath or meditation
- Avoid heavy meals and exercise before bedtime
- Manage your work schedule to avoid all-nighters
- Add a diffuser with essential oils that purify the air and contribute to quality relaxing sleep such as Lavender
In Conclusion With such busy and stressful lifestyles, it can be challenging to get a good night’s sleep. However, the consequences of sleep deprivation are far too dangerous so you do your best to avoid them. Poor sleep increases stress levels while harming our memory and emotional and psychological well-being. With the simple steps described above, you can avoid this scenario altogether.