According to a Healthline article from 2014, sleep deprivation can lead to damaging health problems and even death. Here are some of the effects you may experience.
Accidental death or injury
Cognitive brain decline, lack of creativity, and concentration
Depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide
Poor work performance on the job
Weak immune system
Being more prone to viruses like the cold or flu
Become moody or angered easily
Affects insulin, increasing risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Weight gain because of increase in appetite and late night eating
High blood pressure
We have somehow fooled ourselves into thinking it’s okay to go 24/7 without stopping. However, a Harvard Medical School study showed that getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night increased the chance of death from all causes by 15%.
During sleep the body repairs and renews cells which is so vital to a healthy mind and body. The liver eliminates toxins between 1a.m. and 3 a.m., so waking during the night can disrupt detoxification. The toxins are then allowed to be reabsorbed into your body which leads to disease.
So, how do you turn that around? Here are some things that can help you get better, restful sleep.
1. There’s now science to back the fact that exercise can help improve sleep.
When we’re physically active, it helps us to have deeper sleep that restores our body. It’s good for our immune system, heart health, and helps us deal with stress.
The American Heart Association recommends “at least 150 minutes of exercise a week for healthy adults - that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week”.
2. Today, Americans are addicted to their electronics. On any given evening, children, teens, and adults are glued to their cell phones, tablets, laptops, computers, video games, and big screen TVs.
The National Sleep Foundation surveyed 1508 people and found:
People who text before bed were less likely to get a good night's sleep, more likely to wake up tired, to be characterized as sleepy, and more likely to drive while feeling drowsy.
Three quarters of those over 30 who reported not getting enough sleep said their sleepiness affected their work.
Artificial light suppresses the sleep hormone, melatonin, making it hard to get restorative sleep. It’s recommended that you power down all the electronics at least an hour before bed.
3. Stop eating at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. Late night snacking not only leads to weight gain but you’re usually attracted to high carb foods like chips, ice`cream, cookies, microwave popcorn, or alcohol.
Many people do find pumpkin seeds, tart cherries, almonds, walnuts, and chamomile tea helpful.
Going to bed on a full stomach can cause indigestion and interfere with the body’s nighttime regeneration process.
Other helpful tips are:
Don’t have any caffeine after lunch.
Sleep in a dark, cool room.
Don’t work on work-related tasks before bed.
Start turning off lights in your home an hour before bed.
Sleep in an uncluttered, peaceful bedroom.
Read, journal, or meditate in bed to relax.
Get magnesium levels checked.
The bottom line is that we need sleep as much as we need air to breathe and food to eat. It is usually recommended that we get 7 - 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.
What gets in the way of you getting your 7-8 hours each day?