There are a lot of factors that can cause sleepless nights and not all of them are serious. Still, lack of sleep isn’t good for your wellbeing and health in general as sleep helps your mind and body recover and regain strength.
Some of the most well-known effects of lack of sleep are being constantly frustrated by everything, not working at your best and feeling grumpy. The truth is, sleep deprivation can have serious and very profound consequences on your physical health and is something that should not be taken lightly. The most common reasons why poor sleep is troubling so many people are taking work home, computers, smartphones, and stress.
Unfortunately, lack of focus and bad moods aren’t the only cost here, there’s more at stake. Poor sleep causes a higher risk of serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. On top of all that, sleep deprivation shortens your life expectancy. With all that in mind, it’s safe to say that a person needs a good night’s sleep to live a healthy and long life.
It’s recommended that you sleep around 8 hours to function properly but this varies from person to person. The best indicator that you need to sleep more is if you constantly tend to wake up tired and sleepy. If you’re experiencing a constant longing for a nap, that’s a clear sign that you need more sleep.
Poor sleep affects your health in many ways
If you don’t sleep well, that affects your health in many ways. The most common effects are lack of focus, short temper, and general fatigue. Constant feeling of being tired, general irritability, these are all signs of poor sleep. With constant sleep deprivation, things get a bit worse. The more you don’t sleep well, the more these effects become serious.
First, it becomes difficult to make clear decisions and you start experiencing brain fog. You can’t concentrate, pay attention and focus. Then, you start feeling down all the time and falling asleep all of a sudden becomes a regularity.
The risks of accidents and injuries on the road, at work and home significantly increase. If this continues, you might become prone to serious health conditions and high blood pressure. There are seven most common ways in which poor sleep affects your health:
- Immunity – good sleep boosts immunity but if you don’t sleep well on a regular basis, your immunity will suffer. Sleep deprivation is known to disrupt your immune system, leaving you more prone to catching the flu and cold.
- Weight – good sleep is important for staying in shape as it helps the digestive system, but sleep deprivation is an entirely different thing. Poor sleep on a regular basis leads to obesity and gaining weight. Sleep-deprived people are more prone to the risks of becoming obese.
- Mental wellbeing – sleep is essential for your mental wellbeing as it boosts your mental health and cognitive function. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to serious mood disorders like anxiety, psychosis, and depression.
- Diabetes prevention – people who sleep well are exposed to a much lower risk of developing diabetes as sleep prevents this medical condition. This is because sleep deprivation is directly related to type 2 diabetes since it affects the process of turning glucose into energy for the body.
- Sex drive – no sleep means less sex and even impotence in the worst case scenario. Sleep-deprived people tend to experience lower libidos which results in low or no interest in sex. Those with interrupted sleep patterns have lower levels of testosterone which is the main driver for the libido.
- Heart disease – when you’re not sleeping well for longer periods of time, that chronic lack of sleep is directly associated with high blood pressure and increased heart rate, both of which can cause heart disease.
How to compensate
This all can be easily avoided if you find a good way to compensate for all those sleepless nights. Getting more sleep is one way but paying special attention to some of the negative factors that affect your sleep is the second.
By avoiding these factors and developing a healthy daily routine before you go to sleep, you’re doing yourself a favor. Now, catching up on lost sleep isn’t a one-night thing. It takes time and effort. Each time you don’t sleep well, a sense of tension builds up and that sleep debt is what causes all those problems with your health and mental stability.
It takes weeks to notice any change as it’s a slow process but it’s possible. Therefore, here are some negative factors that you should keep an eye on:
- Caffeine – drinking loads of coffee in the evenings won’t do any good for your sleep. On the contrary, it will only disrupt your sleep. Coffee isn’t the only drink that contains caffeine as certain teas and sodas are also full of it. While having a cup of tea before you go to bed can be pretty calming, you should go with decaf options that promote relaxation and help you fall asleep easier and faster.
- Smoking – Smokers have troubles with falling asleep as nicotine is a powerful stimulant. That’s why chronic smokers experience more disputed sleep patterns than nonsmokers. Those who smoke a lot are more prone to insomnia and smoking is directly related to the change in the circadian rhythm which is one of the factors for a good night’s sleep. Smoking before bed isn’t a good idea. Avoid it at all times.
- Sleeping pills – these are never a good option and might do more damage than good as overconsumption might lead to addiction. On the long run, sleeping pills make it harder on you to fall asleep naturally.
- Diet – what you eat on a daily basis, especially before you go to bed, greatly affects the quality of your sleep. It’s extremely important to pay attention to what you eat before you go to bed as this might greatly reduce the negative effect on your sleep.