Sleep is an essential function for a person’s health and wellbeing. It refreshes and recharges our body physically and mentally and makes our focus and concentration better. When you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to behave frustrated and annoyed and find it difficult to focus and remember things. So, lack of sleep affects the way you behave, feel, work, learn, talk and think. In short, sleep defines our whole day.
Effects of not getting enough sleep:
- You lose alertness: Without enough sleep you can’t focus and concentrate on your work. You’ll find yourself unvigilant and unwatchful throughout the day. Even missing an hour of sleep can impact the way you feel and react.
- Reduces ability to remember things: Lack of sleep can cause memory loss, difficulty in remembering dates and names, missing out on words during conversations.
- Makes you feel sleepy in the daytime: Not getting enough sleep can make you feel tired and drowsy during the day which in turn will interfere with your work and relationship.
- You’ll have mood swings: Sleepless nights can increase your negative moods (anger, grumpiness, irritability, frustration, sadness) and you can become more likely to have conflicts with other people. Sleep deprivation also can cause mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
- Increase the chances for accidents: Sleep deprived people are more likely to have car crashes, injuries and fatalities.
- Cause a gain in weight: Studies show that people who have poor sleep have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more. Furthermore, it can increase your desire for unhealthy food (foods high in carbohydrates, calories and fat) leaving you gaining weight. Lack of sleep makes you less likely to participate in daily activities that you love doing and exercising.
Not getting enough sleep can pose adverse effects on your health as well. Some of the serious problems related with sleep deprivation are diabetes, heart blood pressure, migraine, heart failure or stroke. It affects our growth and stress hormones, breathing, our immune system and cardiovascular health.
Tips to get better sleep:
- Be consistent with your sleep pattern: In order to get better sleep, consistency is the key. Stick to a sleep schedule, go to bed and get up at the same time every day even on weekends. Being consistent maintains your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps you to fall asleep and wake up more easily.
- Limit the nap time: Long naps during the day can interfere with nighttime sleep. Napping can be relaxing and can uplift your mood and improve your energy levels. According to research, daytime naps should not be longer than 20 minutes, a 10-20 minute nap can refresh your body and mind and increase your concentration and learning ability.
- Incorporate physical activity in your everyday: Exercising or indulging in any physical activity everyday allows you to fall asleep easily and promotes a better sleep. Exercise makes you tired. The more active you are, the more your body forces you to sleep at night.
- Put your worries aside before going to bed: Don’t take your worries to bed, it will interfere with your sleep schedule. Try to resolve your worries before going to bed or talking to someone about them or setting them aside for tomorrow.
- Keep your screens aside at least 1 hour before bed: Try giving your phone, tablet or TV a break before bed and give yourself some time to read or meditate. Reading and meditating before going to bed promotes a better sleep.
- Take care of what you are eating and drinking at night: Try not to go to bed just after eating, with a stuffed stomach or hungry. Also, avoid taking oily or large meals at night. Nicotine and caffeine can also interfere with your sleep and make you remain awake for hours.
- Create a peaceful environment: Find your ideal temperature. Warmer? Colder or somewhere in the middle? Whatever makes you comfortable. Try keeping your room dark and quiet before going to bed as exposure to light makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. Still if you are facing difficulty in falling asleep, you try playing some quiet and calm music as it controls your thoughts and makes you fall asleep easily.
If you are continuously fighting with your sleep, try out these tips and see how they impact your sleep quality.
True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
— William Penn