One in three people suffers from poor sleep, and regularly not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health issues. Lack of quality sleep over time can even shorten life expectancy.
A good night’s sleep is one of the keys to having a long and healthy life.
The negative effects of not getting enough sleep include:
Increased stress. When your body and mind are tired, routine activities can start to feel overwhelming, inducing stress and weight gain. When you’re stressed, your body releases more of the hormone cortisol, a major contributor to weight gain and obesity.
Poorer memory. Deep sleep, or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, increases memory formation and function. Without the proper amount of sleep, your memory will start to suffer.
Hard to focus. Sleep deprivation can make it difficult to concentrate, which slows you down and can impair your judgement and your reaction time.
Depression. Sleep and mood are very closely linked. Lack of sleep can cause depression, which can negatively affect your everyday function and your relationships.
Increased blood pressure. Some studies have shown that a lack of sleep leads to higher blood pressure, especially in those who have hypertension or pre-hypertension.
A variety of factors can keep you from getting the sleep you need. These factors can be:
Physical such as noise or chronic pain.
Medical such as asthma or sleep apnea.
Environment — your phone, tablet, E-reader, or even your TV.
Turn off your electronic devices. They emit a "blue light" that prevents the release of melatonin. Suppression of melatonin has been linked to numerous health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and certain cancers. Reading from or watching a screen before bed can make it harder to fall asleep and has been found to alter alertness and levels of melatonin.
But how much sleep do you really need? Most people need approximately eight hours of quality sleep a night to function at their peak, although the actual number varies somewhat from person to person. Once you have determined how much sleep you need (how much sleep keeps you feeling alert and energetic throughout the day), it is important to make sure that you are getting it. If you are feeling lethargic or in need of a nap to make it through the day, odds are you aren’t getting the amount of sleep that you need.
The health benefits of sleep include:
Better immunity. When you’re getting enough sleep, your chances of getting sick decrease. Lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, making it harder to combat even the common cold.
Sleep keeps the scale from going up. Studies have shown that less sleep may lead to more weight gain, possibly because the right amount of sleep can decrease levels of ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger.
Sense of wellbeing. Better sleep means a better mood and decreased anxiety.
Sleep can prevent diabetes. Missing sleep can affect the way the body processes glucose and may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Increased sex drive. Research has shown that less sleep means a lower libido and less interest in sex.
How do you make sure you get the proper amount of quality sleep?
Stick to a routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on weekends. Making it a habit will train your body and help it reach the level of deep sleep it needs.
Get comfy and turn off that screen. Make sure the temperature in your sleeping space is low. Also keep your environment dark, quiet and comfortable.
Limit napping. Although daytime naps can be pleasant and refreshing, they rarely lead to the kind of deep sleep your body requires. Sleeping too much during the day can make it harder to sleep at night.
Lay off the stimulants. Too much caffeine or nicotine can wind you up and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Be active. The more energy you expend during the day, the better you will sleep at night. Research has shown that regular exercise, especially early in the day, can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. Try to create an environment that will make sleeping easier and more satisfying. If you regularly have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor to make sure you are addressing any underlying problems that may be contributing to your tossing and turning.
Article From InterView Magazine