Are you sleep-deprived? According to the American Sleep Association, more than 35% of adults report regularly sleeping less than 7 hours a night. Getting enough good sleep is important for your health. Without it, your body will have trouble functioning at its best.
These days however, everyone is busy. And it is encouraged and even expected for us to have overloaded schedules with far too many obligations. This contributes to rising stress levels. As a result, too many people are walking through life with sleep deprivation.
We all have an occasional late night out. Doing this won’t affect your health negatively. Problems begin to occur however when staying awake late on a regular basis. The average adult body requires 7-9 hours of sleep a night. But many people only get 4-5 hours a night on average.
What is causing a lack of sleep for so many? 50-70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. And the majority of sleep disorders go undiagnosed. Millions of people walk around each day suffering from being chronically sleep-deprived. Do you struggle to get enough sleep? Here are the most common signs people experience.
You feel fatigued
This symptom is common sense, and yet people overlook it every day. They opt instead to attempt to energize themselves with caffeine and sugar in order to get through each day. Pay attention to see if you are feeling sleepy and fatigued. If you are, then it may be time to push yourself to get to sleep a little earlier.
You are hungry all the time
When the body can’t get enough energy from sleep, it will try to get it any other way that it can. The next best option will be for it to gain energy from the foods that you eat, and so you will notice an increase in appetite in order to meet the body’s need for energy. Too little sleep increases production of the hunger hormone ghrelin too. When levels of this hormone get too high, then you will find yourself craving high fat, sugary foods.
You’re putting on some additional pounds
It makes perfect sense that if you are always hungry that weight gain will soon follow. But sleep deprivation also directly impacts metabolism and makes weight gain much more likely. Too little sleep can also have an impact on the ability of your fat cells to respond to insulin, according to a 2012 study from the University of Chicago Medical Center.
You are clumsy
When you don’t get enough sleep, your motor skills become impaired, and your coordination is affected. This leads to more trips, falls, spills and minor accidents.
You are overly emotional
When you do not get the sleep that your brain needs, it is easy to become over stimulated and react to emotional stimuli in an exaggerated way. You may find an increase in anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, or even giddiness. When sleep-deprived, it is much more difficult to control emotions as well and you may more easily project emotions outwardly and have less of an emotional filter.
You get sick more often
When you don’t get enough sleep, it lowers your immune system. This means you have more trouble fighting off colds and flu. But it also means that it can take a longer time to recover from a nasty bug if you do get one. When you sleep, the body produces cytokines, which it uses to fight off foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. When you don’t get enough sleep, production of cytokines reduces dramatically, and your body will not have the tools that it needs to fight off the germs.
You have trouble remembering things
Sleep deprivation is exhausting for the brain and can affect both short, and long-term memory. A sleep-deprived person will struggle to focus their attention on what information needs to be recalled and will be much more forgetful than someone who gets enough sleep regularly.
You are indecisive
If you find that you are having difficulties managing tasks at work and home, then lack of sleep may be to blame. Sleep deprivation contributes to poor cognitive function and can reduce effective problem-solving skills. In other words, it will take longer for your brain to process information and slow down your ability to make important decisions.
Getting sleep is a vital part of rebuilding or maintaining health. That’s why it is a part of the restorative health protocol we use with every client. You will never be able to feel good again if you aren’t sleeping well!
If you are struggling to get enough sleep on a regular basis, here are some tips that can help you optimize your sleep.
Set a regular bedtime
Creating a sleep routine is important. Be sure to go to sleep at the same time each night. You may have to show yourself some tough love by forcing yourself to shut off the television earlier or stop scrolling social media before bed. But creating healthier bedtime habits is worth it in the long run!
Avoid blue light and bright lights before bed
Exposure to blue light comes by way of cell phones, televisions, tablets, and computers. Blue light prevents the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep. Exposing yourself to light within 30 minutes before bedtime signals the brain to shut off the production of melatonin. Another reason to shut off your phone and other gadgets earlier!
Practice stress management daily
Stress is a major contributor to sleep dysfunction. So, using stress management techniques such as deep breathing daily can help you reduce your stress levels so you can improve sleep issues.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evenings
Caffeine is a stimulant, and many people consume it throughout the day. If you are having trouble falling asleep, then you should consider only consuming caffeine before noon.
Change the temperature
A room that is cool is optimal for sleeping. A temperature of between 65 and 72 seems to work best for most people. If your bedroom gets too warm at night, it may compromise your sleep.
Exercise has so many benefits, but those who exercise regularly tend to have an easier time sleeping and tend to report better sleep as well.
Reduce the noise
How quiet is your bedroom? A quiet space makes for better sleep, so if you find that noise from outside the house is affecting your sleep, then try a white noise machine, fan, or even earplugs. Too much noise can keep you awake…and keep you sleep-deprived!
Darken your room
Is there too much light coming into your bedroom while you sleep? Any light from outside or even from your digital clock can be disruptive to sleep. Using room darkening curtains and creating a darker sleep environment is beneficial for promoting sleep.
There is a lot you can do to improve your quality of sleep. But it is important to make good sleep a priority. You can overcome being sleep-deprived. When you do you will find that your health and overall quality of life will improve. Your work will also be easier and your relationships better when you are getting the sleep your body needs.
Getting your best sleep is a big part of rebuilding your health. If you need additional support to feel good again, contact us to see how we can help!