[Editor’s note: Sleep, as we see below, is crucial. When we have trouble sleeping, we should remember to watch what we eat, if anything, within three hours of heading for bed; clear the day’s worries by giving them to God (let each day take care, said Jesus, of its own), and drift into sleep through prayer and reading the Bible; slumber as the Infant did]
By Katlyn Mercer
Around six in 10 Americans are sleep deprived, according to a recent national study, and that means that many of us are waking up feeling fatigued instead of energized. If you sleep the recommended number of hours (seven to eight) and you still feel tired, the problem could be sleep quality rather than quantity. Restorative sleep involves more than being in bed for the required hours; it also means reaching the important stages of deep sleep. During these stages, our cells renew, we build muscle and bone, and we help strengthen our immunity. If you toss and turn, snore, or wake up frequently to use the bathroom, take note of the possible effects on your health.
1. Poor Sleep Increases Your Perception of Pain
Pain makes it harder to tolerate pain, according to a study published in the journal, PAIN. The study included over 10,400 adults who were given pain tests. Those who lacked sleep had greater sensitivity to these tests and the lower their sleep quality was, the lower their corresponding pain tolerance! To keep pain to a minimum, ensure your room is dark and quiet, and make sure your mattress’ firmness matches your sleeping position. Your whole body should be supported, so that your shoulders, back, and neck are not in pain.
2. A Lack of Sleep can Cause Mood Problems
Researchers from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology recently conducted a study on teens, finding that chronic sleep deprivation has serious mental risks – including mood problems and a higher likelihood of depression and addiction. In essence, sleep deprivation interferes with the brain’s reward system. It make is more difficult for people to feel satisfied and happy with normal, everyday rewards. Thus, when tired, they can be more prone to partaking in risky activities.
3. Sleep Deprivation is Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
A study published by the Obesity Society has found that just one night of bad sleep can equal six months on a high-fat diet when it comes to insulin sensitivity. In the long term, those who do not sleep as much or as well as they should can develop Type 2 diabetes – a situation in which they do not respond well to insulin and therefore have too much sugar in the blood. The good news is that it is easy to lower your risk by consuming a healthy diet and sleeping your required number of hours.
4. A Lack of Sleep is Linked to Obesity
If you are wanting to lose a few extra pounds, make sure you sleep well every night. As noted in a study by G Beccuti et al, short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are known risk factors for the development of obesity. Sleep deprivation causes important metabolic and endocrine alterations that increase hunger and appetite and decrease glucose tolerance – among many other changes.
5. Poor Sleep Makes You Stressed
Sleep deprivation causes levels of stress hormone, cortisol, to rise. This hormone, when present at chronically high levels, can contribute to depression and other mental conditions. Keep stress levels down by meditating, breathing, and practicing relaxation exercises at bedtime.
6. Poor Sleep Causes Cognitive Problems
If you are student or you work in a demanding office, make sure to perform at your best ability by getting proper sleep quality. Wakefulness at night time leads to poor cognitive performance in the day. Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation affects attention, working memory, long-term memory, and decision making.
7. Poor Sleep is Linked to Anxiety
Because cortisol levels are high when sleep is lacking, those with anxiety can find that they have stronger symptoms, or panic attacks, when they haven’t rested well. If you have anxiety, one of the most important steps to take is to be very strict with your bedtime routine. Sleep at the same time every night, keep gadgets outside your room, and meditate or breathe prior to bedtime to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to fall asleep quickly.
8. Sleep Deprivation Ups the Risk of Accidents
If you drive to work or school every day, make sure you rest well. Your actions could affect your life and those of others. A 2018 study has shown that those who sleep for less than seven hours in the previous 24 hours have a higher risk of having a car accident.
9, Poor Sleep can Make You Ill
A study by researchers at the University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine studied various sets of twins, finding that who slept less had an impaired immune system, compared to their sleep-loving siblings. As cold and flu season sets in, it is especially important to sleep well. Try to sleep in line with your circadian rhythms, making ‘early to bed, early to rise’ your motto.
10. Sleep Deprivation is Linked to Chronic Pain
Researchers from the Sleep and Pain Lab at Warwick University in the UK have found that conditions like fibromyalgia, back pain, and arthritis can be well managed by good sleep. Their study showed that after following a short course of cognitive behavioral therapy for better sleep, patients with all these conditions found that their symptoms had improved. The study shed a light on the important link between sleep and wellbeing; researchers recommend that this type of program be used to help those who are unable to sleep because of chronic pain conditions, since the relationship between sleep and pain is bi-directional.
We have mentioned 10 ways that poor sleep can affect your health and happiness, but there are so many more you can discover through research. Make sleep a priority every night by following a strict routine. Keep stress levels down, ensure your room is comfy, dark, and cool, and enjoy the rejuvenating feeling of waking up feeling authentically rested and serene!