The Consequences of a Lack of Sleep and How to Get Rested at Last
We do so many things every day that we have to deprive ourselves of something. And that something is usually sleep. We either decide to go to bed later or wake up earlier to manage a few more tasks. As a natural result, we rise as if we hadn’t slept at all.
We at Bright Side would like to remind you that to do all the things you want, you need healthy sleep because it gives you strength for them.
The hours of sleep you need reduce as you get older:
What happens when we don’t have enough sleep?
- We get sick. Our immune system is directly related to sleep, and a lack of it makes it harder for our body to fight diseases.
- It’s hard to think logically and react quickly, which may be dangerous, especially when an immediate decision is needed — for example, when you’re driving.
- We gain weight if we sleep less than 5 hours a day.
- Our skin health deteriorates: wrinkles, capillaries, age spots, and acne appear, and the body ages more quickly in general.
- We’re at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Risk of cancer increases.
- Sexual drive decreases. If you sleep less than 5 hours a day for a week, testosterone levels drop and sex hormones reduce by 15%.
- We forget things easily. When we sleep, our brain sorts out information. Lack of sleep deprives it of the time it needs to do this.
What can we do about it?
There’s only one way out: sleep more. If you have to get up at 7 a.m., go to bed at 11 p.m.
When you know nothing bad will happen if you finish the task tomorrow, go to bed. The next day you’ll get more done quickly as you’ll find it easier to think.
Sometimes, though, it gets worse. You may go to sleep on time and then rejoice in that fact, unable to shut your eyes until 3 a.m. The result: a hard morning once again. In this case, you’ll have to work on your regular hours. Here’s what you can do:
- Love your regular hours. Learn to go to bed at the same time every night, even at weekends. Your body will get used to it and will want to sleep at the usual time. It’ll also get used to waking up at the same time, but you can lie in at weekends.
- Breathe fresh air. If the weather allows, have a 15-minute walk outside before sleeping. Air your room: you’ll sleep better if it’s cool inside (about 64-69°F).
- Move more during the day. Physical tiredness is the best motivation for sleep. If your work is sedentary, get a jog or a couple of squats in about 2 hours before sleep.
- Reduce anxiety to a minimum. Try not to argue and not take anything too deeply, if possible. Don’t watch TV a lot or read the news, especially if it’s bad. Knowing current events is important, but sometimes it’s better to look at cat pics than gas prices.
- Don’t eat right before you sleep. Digestion is an active process that messes with your sleep. Have dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- Don’t drink coffee in the evening. The same goes for green tea, energy drinks, or anything that contains caffeine. Chocolate has it too.
- Work at your work place only. Home is your place of rest and relaxation. Business calls and mail can wait until the next morning.
- Relax in the evening. Have a hot bath, read a good book — a paper one, not one on a blue screen. You have the right to rest.
- Make up your own rituals that will serve as signals for your body that it should go to sleep: brush your teeth, wash, apply night cream. It’s best if you enjoy these things too.
- Create a cozy atmosphere for sleep. Wear your favorite pajamas, roll up in a warm blanket. You should enjoy being in your bed! And get rid of the TV in your bedroom — it’s a place for sleep and sex only.
Chronic sleep deprivation is an enemy that slowly takes away your health, working capacity, and mental acuity. However, start fighting it, and in just a week you’ll be feeling much better.