Not getting enough sleep for only one night may not have adverse effects on your health—but chronic sleep deprivation can lead to more than just fatigue or the occasional morning grouchiness.
Sleep deprivation can lead to both physical and cognitive disruptions, making it difficult to power through your daily routine. If left untreated, prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health conditions.
What are the signs and consequences of not getting enough sleep? If you start to develop the following symptoms, a lack of restorative sleep may be the culprit.
Your Mood Can Change
It’s no secret that not getting a full night of rest leaves you feeling irritable the following day. But why do you feel that way? Research shows that lack of sleep decreases positive emotions like happiness and enthusiasm while increasing negative emotions like anxiety, sadness, and restlessness.
Over time, sleeplessness’s adverse effect on your mood can turn into more serious health concerns, like depression, anxiety disorders, and high blood pressure.
Your Productivity May Plummet
Besides denying you an opportunity to recharge your body and mind, sleep deprivation can undermine your productivity. It usually impairs essential mental abilities, including reasoning and problem-solving.
With your sleep-deprived brain not functioning at its peak level, your work may suffer. You may notice that you’re no longer buzzing with fresh ideas like before, and it could be an outcome of sleep deprivation undermining your creativity.
You May Forget Things
Poor sleep negatively impacts memory in different ways. For example, it may predispose an individual to blood flow issues that hinder their brain’s oxygen and sugar supply. As a result, the individual may encounter difficulty remembering things. Sleep deprivation can also impede the transfer of information from short to long-term memory.
Poor Sleep Can Lead to Poor Coordination
Lack of sleep lowers your ability to focus and concentrate on almost anything. For example, as a driver in that state of mind, it’s harder to keep your eyes on the road, which can be as dangerous as impaired driving.
Sleep-deprivation also slows your coordination and reaction time. It makes it near impossible to make life-saving, split-second maneuvers or decisions, whether driving a car or operating a machine at work.
Your Overall Health Can Suffer
Poor sleep affects your overall physical health too. According to one study, if you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not release enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels, which can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep may also cause weight gain as it keeps your appetite and cravings levels high.
5 Tips for Improving Sleep
While the consequences of sleep deprivation can be prolonged or server, you aren’t helpless and can take practical steps to overcome the issue. Here are a few actionable tips for boosting your sleep quality to optimize your mental and physical health:
- Invest in a Better Mattress– Lying on the wrong mattress every night can compromise your sleep time and quality. Choose a mattress that offers balanced support for your hips, shoulders, and back for a painless sleep experience. You may want to try medium soft mattress options that are neither too firm nor too soft. These mattress qualities support your body and provide a comfortable sleep, regardless of your preferred sleep position.
- Cut Back on Caffeine– Caffeine is a stimulant that promotes wakefulness, making it a beloved beverage for early mornings. Though everyone’s different when it comes to caffeine toleration, you should cut off the caffeine flow in the early afternoon.
- Set a Sleep Schedule– Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day of the week, including weekends. Creating a sleep schedule can help realign your circadian rhythm.
- No Screens Before Bed– Due to the damaging effects of blue light, you should avoid watching TV or browsing social media on your phone just before going to sleep. Consider blue light-free ways to spend the hour or two before bed, such as meditating, reading a book, or taking a bath.
- Sleep Supplements– Natural sleep supplements can provide a little extra help when you’re looking to sleep better at night. For example, melatonin, which your body produces naturally, tells your brain that it’s time to sleep. You can also try CBD oil, lavender, magnesium, or kava sleep supplements.
Sleep deprivation can lead to both physical and cognitive disruptions, making it difficult to power through your daily routine.
A Good Night’s Sleep is an Essential Self-care Component
Getting enough sleep each night is critical to your mental and physical wellbeing. All you may have to do to start sleeping better is choose the right mattress, drink less coffee, follow a sleep schedule, or cut back on TV time. These are all fairly easy self-care actions that can drastically improve your overall health.
Are you getting enough sleep?
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