How can lack of sleep affect your health

How can lack of sleep affect your health

Pulling an all-nighter sounded a lot more fun when I was a little kid. Now, as an adult who is awake until the AM’s every night, I miss that 8 o’clock bedtime! Staying up most of the night usually results in feeling real crappy the next day, but we don’t always talk about why. How can a lack of sleep affect your health? Let’s discuss.

We can begin by mentioning the way sleep can benefit your body. Getting enough sleep provides your body with the energy it needs to perform your daily tasks — not only the things you consciously do, but also all the sub- and unconscious processes the body performs on your behalf. When we think of our body having enough energy, we imagine feeling energetic, or basically, not tired. But we don’t often consider that our brain and its many complex roles require most of our energy, so getting enough sleep is associated with things as basic-sounding as feeling happy, or having the correct reactions to things.

sleep affecting mental health- coffee and alarm clock

A lot of us have probably stayed up late on purpose, even though we knew we had a 6-o-clock alarm set for the next morning, reciting some kind of mantra: “I’ll catch up on the weekend”, or “Sleep is for the weak”. We think that missing a few hours is NBD, because we’ll just wake up sleepy. Well, it turns out that missing even a couple hours of sleep is a BD.

Physically how lack of sleep affects us

lack of sleep on health- hands holding a heart

Things our bodies do when we sleep:

  • Release growth hormones for healing and development.
  • Re-hydrate our discs and prepare our joints for the next day.
  • Catalog our memories for later.
  • Fine-tune our motor skills.

Long term, a lack of sleep can cause issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and immunodeficiency — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How mentally lack of sleep can affect us

lack of sleep on health- tired man sleeping

During the pandemic, I have noticed a definite upturn in the public’s awareness of mental health. We’ve gone to therapy, we developed new self-care routines, we pruned our toxic relationships; and after all that, we may be throwing it away with a habit of 6-hour sleeps.

A chronic lack of sleep leads to:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • symptoms of ADHD
  • forgetfulness
  • lower sex drive
  • impaired critical thinking skills

Our body uses the time we spend asleep to heal ourselves and regulate hormones, and that applies to our brains, too. The ability to control and identify emotions, control reactions, and solve problems — though they seem like innate skills we could never lose — are still managed by a body part, and a delicate body part at that. Those processes we take for granted, the ones that make up our personality, are all contingent on us taking care of our brain!

lack of sleep on health- tired boy

How can we help prevent the physical, mental and even emotional effects from sleep deprivation

I’m hoping that I’ve convinced you, by this point, to try to get more sleep. But that’s easier said than done, right? Sleep Foundation recommends setting boundaries on your work life (and other obligations) to prioritize sleep, suggesting a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine. They also suggest turning off electronics an hour or more before bedtime and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and naps — yes, that’s right, naps!
Check you my article on Natural Ways to Sleep Better for some good tips to get a better sleep so you can help prevent some of these issues happening to you! Or if you need some good starter tips on creating a consistent sleep routine read this: 4 Easy Ways to Relax before Bedtime

The most important step is deciding to make healthy sleep a priority. Many people push through sleepiness, remedying the next morning with a triple-shot latte or a RedBull, thinking that they can just deal with it. But, like any health issue, you shouldn’t have to “just deal with it”! See the full article on sleep deprivation from Sleep Foundation below:

Please comment below how lack of sleep affects you personally.

Happy sleeping!

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