Are You Damaging Your Health by Skimping on Sleep?
Sleep is essential for a variety of reasons. Rest will not only make you feel better, focus more, improve your health and mental ability, but it can also support a longer life expectancy. Harvard Health recommends that anyone between the ages of 18 to 64 need between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Younger children need even more rest than that. However, over 50% of the population does not sleep a minimum of seven hours as recommended. What effect does that have on our health?
- Increased Risk of Sickness: In a study with over 54,000 participants, researchers found that people are more likely to have heart disease, be obese, suffer a struck or have diabetes if they sleep less than six hours per night. Besides general sickness, you could experience heightened blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and even vaccinations might not work as effectively because an exhausted immune system won't produce the proper antibodies.
- More Stress: If you stay up late to work or just because you can't sleep, you're causing more stress to your body. The stress hormone known as cortisol is naturally released when you don't get enough sleep. Stress can impact your mood, emotions, or how you handle everyday situations.
- Less Creativity: If your job requires you to come up with new ideas, a lack of sleep might inhibit your performance. When you're sleeping, your brain organizes information to allow you to be at your best during the day-time, neuroimaging studies suggest. If you're not sleeping, you're going to find it difficult to focus or come up with good ideas.
- Intense Mood Swings: Exhaustion can affect your mood even more than your mental or physical abilities. When you're sleeping, your body can categorize your feelings and emotions to reset your body for the next day. Lack of sleep can contribute to more sporadic responses to different situations or conversations.
- Premature Aging: One of the most damaging side effects of sleep is that you're likely to break down collagen in your body. Collagen is a protein that promotes the elasticity and smoothness of your skin. Without it, your body will not have the strength to fight off wrinkles. Lack of sleep can also contribute to acne breakouts and dry skin.
Create A Better Sleep Schedule
Needless to say, lack of sleep is very damaging to your health, both internally and externally. By changing your sleep time habits or introducing ways to create a consistent sleeping routine, you can avoid these unwanted side effects. If you're looking to generate more sleep in your life, consider following these tips to encourage better sleep routines.
- Set a Bedtime
Just like little children need to go to bed at a specific time, we also need to have a bedtime as adults. To calculate a proper bedtime, consider when you need to go to work or get up in the morning. If you need to work at 8:00 in the morning and plan to wake up at 7:00 am, you should be asleep between 10:30 pm-11:30 pm.
If you're not used to a set bedtime, this won't be easy to follow at first. You might find yourself struggling at first to fall asleep or to wake up at a particular time every morning. However, it gets easier the more you do it. With some consistency, your body's internal clock will start to match with your set bedtime. You'll begin to feel naturally tired before your bedtime and find it easier to wake in the morning.
- Create a Nighttime Routine
Now that you have a time set every night you're planning to go to bed by, you need to create a routine to get yourself prepped for bed. If you're staring at electronics right before sleep, you're going to find it harder to calm yourself down or induce sleep. The best way to create a nighttime routine is to find relaxing activities you can do to start to calm down your body.
Turn off or put away your electronics at least an hour before your bedtime. Consider doing activities like reading a book, taking a nice bath, or stretching to relax before going to sleep. Treat it like a special ritual, and your body will buy into it.
- Dress the Part
You need to feel as comfortable as possible during the night to ensure you're getting quality sleep. If you're dressing in your day-time clothes or rough pajamas, you're not allowing your body to sink into a comfortable sleep. Instead, invest in quality sleepwear to ensure you're getting the best sleep possible.
- Choose Your Bedding Wisely
A common reason why people are unable to sleep is that they frequently wake up through the night either over-heated or uncomfortable. This has a lot to do with the type of sheets and pillows you choose for your bed. When you're unable to stay cool during the night, your body will overheat, making it hard to sleep soundly through the night. Using Cool Jam's Cooling Carbon Pillows or a Bamboo Sheet Set will ensure a relaxing, deep night of sleep.
- Avoid Regular Naps
Napping for long periods of time, or after two in the afternoon, can seriously affect your nightly sleep. Your body will feel rested and ready to stay up after a nap, which will make it hard to convince yourself to go to sleep at a regular time. Instead of napping, try to drink some tea or go on a brisk walk to wake yourself up. Encouraging yourself to stay awake during the day will help you to have a better sleep schedule.
Investing in regular, uninterrupted sleep will help you to live longer, build a better immune system and be more productive during your day. Make sure to let yourself have a good night of sleep by following the tips provided above. If you find that you're still unable to find consistent sleep, contact your doctor to find out if there's another reason you're unable to find rest.