A good night of sleep can leave us feeling rejuvenated and ready for the challenges of the day. On the other hand, poor sleep can leave us feeling confused and run down. What’s more, a growing body of research has shown that poor sleep can negatively impact our mood, while making us more susceptible to serious medical problems. Here’s how insufficient sleep can impact your life, along with some tips on how you can get more sleep.
Lack of sleep can make us gain weight
A mountain of research has linked inadequate sleep with weight gain and obesity. While they aren’t exactly sure why this occurs, researchers believe poor sleep negatively impacts our hormones, causing us to feel hungrier and crave sugary, fattening foods. It can also cause our metabolism to slow down, so we burn calories slower. Since higher body mass has been linked to a number of deadly medical issues, it’s important to prioritize sleep, so you can maintain a healthy weight.
Research suggests poor sleep can increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease. You can reduce your risk of gum disease by practicing good hygiene, getting plenty of sleep and making routine visits to your local dentist.
Sleep deprivation affects cognition
Studies suggest insufficient sleep can negatively impact memory and problem-solving skills. In fact, research has shown that short-term sleep deprivation affects the brain much like alcohol intoxication. This can leave us more susceptible to car accidents while reducing our effectiveness at work.
Lack of sleep can shorten your life
Most people know they can reduce their risk of deadly disease by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Unfortunately, these healthy lifestyle habits may not be enough if you aren’t getting enough sleep. After reviewing 15 studies, researchers determined people are at a significantly increased risk of stroke and heart disease if they don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
A number of studies suggest insufficient sleep can negatively impact blood sugar and reduce insulin sensitivity. People who sleep less than six hours every night have been shown to be at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Again, even if you practice healthy lifestyle habits, you are still at risk for serious medical issues if you aren’t prioritizing sleep.
Poor sleep quality can cause depression
Researchers have found that poor sleep quality can significantly increase the risk of depression and anxiety, while also intensifying common mental health problems. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you can reduce your symptoms by making sure you get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Improving Sleep Hygiene
If you have trouble sleeping at night, here are 3 steps you can take to improve your sleep quality.
- Try to limit alcohol and caffeine, which are both known sleep disruptors.
- You should also go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Finally, avoid using your smartphone or tablet within an hour of bedtime, since these devices emit blue light which can interfere with melatonin production.