Many of the side effects of sleeplessness like; being irritable, poor concentration, energy and ability to work at your best are well known. Prolonged sleep deprivation or not getting the deep restorative sleep we need can have serious consequences on your physical and mental well being.
The cost of regular poor sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and can shorten your life expectancy, not to mention to rob you of your quality of life.
Most people need around 8 hours of quality restorative sleep a night to function properly and productively, depending on age and the individual there is variability between people. Generally, if you wake up tired and spend your day longing for a nap or the days end…you are not getting the sleep you need.
There are many factors that can cause poor sleep including health conditions such as sleep apnoea. But often poor sleep is primarily due to poor sleeping habits and routines.
Surely, after a long day at work, running some errands all you want to do is jump right into the bed and snore all away but what you don’t realize is that when you wake up the next morning, you will still feel unrelaxed with some muscle tensions due to the poor sleeping routine the night before. So, the next time you feel like you need to get some good night’s rest try these simple tips so you can get more of your beauty rest.
What is the risk of not getting enough restorative sleep?
We have all felt the effects of a night’s loss of sleep, whether we were kept up by a snoring partner, full moon or trying to solve the world’s problems. An occasional night without sleep will leave you tired, a little on edge or irritable, but won’t permanent set your health back.
However, after many sleepless nights the effect on your mental focus becomes quite significant and scary. Sleep deprivation can also affect your judgment so that you don’t even notice its effects. It leaves you in a malaise, making it a challenge to concentrate and make wise decisions. It starts to affect your mood, energy and cause you to fall asleep during the day.
The risk of injury and accidents at home, exercising, at work and on the road also dramatically increases.
I am sure you are aware of the sleep deprivation studies that have been conducted, wherein after several hours or days deprived of sleep is equivalent to being totally intoxicating. Which is pretty scary to think that people functioning in a “zombie like” stupor are operating heavy machinery, caring for children or performing medical procedures.
There has been reported 6,000 fatal car crashes caused by drowsy driving each year. It is reported that about 1 in 25 adults have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month.
Why is Getting Enough Restorative Sleep So Important?
- Sleep Boosts Immunity
Doesn’t it seem that you always seem to catch a cold or the flu when you have been missing out on sleep. Prolonged sleep deprivation can disrupt your immune system, placing it under increased stress and leave you weak to fight off infection and the latest bug that’s being spread.
ou are 3x more likely to catch a cold! It causes you to have less active immunity protectors cells called Natural Killer cells. There is also a reported 36% increased risk for colorectal cancer.
- Sleep Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
Less sleep can actually mean that you put on MORE weight! Studies have shown that people that get less than 5 hours of sleep a night tend to gain more weight and have a 50% greater risk of becoming obese than those who do. It is reported that it is due to decreased levels of leptin, which is a chemical in the body that marks you feel full and increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone.
Likewise the lack of energy makes it less likely for you to exercise or take the time to make healthy meals and food choices. It can cause you to have increased cravings for sweet, salty and starchy foods. So, you can see how sleep can start the spiral of weight gain.
- Sleep Enhances your Mental Well Being and Brain Function
It is not surprising that living in a constant sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety. There is also a greater risk for fuzzy thinking, irritability, forgetfulness and it has been reported that there is a 33% increased Dementia risk. Interestingly it has been found that sleep deprivation can age your brain 3-5 years!In a survey of people with anxiety and depression it was calculated that a majority slept less than 6 hours a night.Our outlook and motivation for each day greatly impacts our ability to practice positive reinforcing behaviors.
- Sleep Helps to Moderate Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes
Missing out on sleep puts you at nearly a 3x risk for Type 2 Diabetes because it alters the body processes glucose(sugar fuel of the body), which the body uses for energy. Studies have shown that people who usually sleep less than 5 hours a night have an increased risk for developing diabetes.
- Sleep Can Protect Against Heart Disease
Prolonged sleep deprivation seems to be associated with a 48% increase in developing Heart Disease. It has been observed that with loos of sleep there’s an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and chemical linked with inflammation.
This causes the heart to have to work harder and inflammatory factors can damage the vessels of the heart and your circulatory system and cause plaque build up.The added stress associated with the loss of sleep and difficulty sleeping also adds an additional insult to the heart and circulatory system.
- Sleep Improves Sex Drive and Fertility
Research suggests that men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less interest in sex. Men who suffer from sleep apnoea, a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep, have lower testosterone levels, which in turn can lower libido(sex drive).
It can be more challenging to conceive a baby when either men or women have endured any prolonged period of sleep deprivation. Regular and continuous sleep disruption can cause trouble conceiving because of the reduction of reproductive hormones being secreted.
How to Create the Best Routine to Support Getting the Restorative Sleep Your Body Needs?
If you are struggling to get the sleep you need, take a step back and look at your daily habits, stressors and sleep set up.
Making up for lost sleep won’t happen overnight. If you have had weeks and months of restricted sleep you are in a significant sleep deficit and most like have incurred aches, pains and compensations in your body.
As I say nothing exists in isolation, so each weak link, compensation or factor needs to be addressed, and you need to give yourself the grace to know it will take time and develop the discipline to make changes to protect your health and quality of life.
Try to re-set your rhythm by adding an additional 2 hours of sleep a night, try starting on a weekend, go to bed when tired and toss the alarm clock so your body will wake you naturally. I know I have been surprised how my body is truly craving a few more hours than I am allowing it.
It is common that initially you may sleep around 10 hours at a time, but eventually you will return to your “normal” sleep cycle.
DON’T rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-time jolt for energy or pick-me up. They can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term. Likewise don’t depend on alcohol or other sedatives to try to get yourself to sleep, they are far more costly especially taken habitually.
Make Sure You Have the BEST Sleep Set- up!
It is absolutely essential to address sleep positions and set-up when helping people who are struggling with sleeping.
Oftentimes people are using TOO MANY or TOO BIG of a pillow, ……
Or their mattress is TOO soft, old and doesn’t support the unique shape of their body…
This is why it is so important to get a custom fit pillow and mattress that doesn’t put your head forward or tilt it back whether you are on your back or side when the head and neck are not supported it will round and pull the shoulders forward, leaving them unsupported, causing increased compression, inflammation and pain.
Changes in the head and neck position can throw the rest of the spine, hips and legs out of alignment, strain muscles, compression joints, discs and nerves.
This can also cause the sensation of numbness and tingling into the arms or legs, back pain, restlessness of the legs, muscle cramps and spasms.
Does this Sound Like Your Struggle or Frustration With Sleeping?
Want to finally get the answers, help and support you need to be able to fix your situation and sleep better?
Want a natural solution to solving your sleep situation without having to constantly reach for the painkillers that are toxic for your stomach or getting costly injections that actually further degrade your body and never really FIX anything?
You can take a simple first step to stopping the sleepless nights, frustration and agony by starting with FREE consultation with one of our specialists either in-person at our office or VIRTUALLY online.
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