A good night’s sleep can go a long way. Even if you’re not a morning person, waking up well-rested and refreshed can help to start the day on a positive note and is essential to overall wellness. But things like stress, anxiety, pain, pets and kids can lead to sleepless nights and contribute to insomnia. Beyond just being tired, lack of sleep can also have a profound impact on your health. These are things that happen when you don’t get enough sleep.
The worriers of the world know that nighttime is when they find themselves tossing and turning. According to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, sleeplessness fires up the regions of the brain associated with emotional processing, resulting in brain activity similar to an anxiety disorder. For people who already suffer from an anxiety disorder, lack of sleep can make physical symptoms of anxiety even more severe.
You might know all the rules of the road, but are you aware of the dangers associated with drowsy driving? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 100,000 accidents a year are caused by sleepy drivers. People with sleep disorders, like untreated sleep apnea, are at an even higher risk and are seven times more likely to have a drowsy driving accident.
While some studies argue that staying up all night can enhance creativity, lack of sleep actually doesn’t promote a healthy mind. According to a paper published by The Center for Creative Leadership, lost sleep can reduce brainpower and productivity and limit the ability to communicate. It also suggests that sleep deprivation can lower creativity and innovation.
If it’s been one of those days where you showed some toxic habits or feel like crying, you might want to consider how well you slept the night before. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase response to emotional triggers. According to a study published by the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, sleep deprivation can also lead to both anger and aggression.
Remember how mom used to send you to bed early because you had a test the next day? She was onto something. Lack of sleep can lessen your cognitive performance, which isn’t good if you need to be sharp for a presentation or don’t want to commit an etiquette mistake at the office. In addition to losing focus, the Harvard Health Publishing website suggests that when people don’t get enough sleep they struggle to pay attention and concentrate.
A consistent lack of sleep can lead to any number of concerning health issues. Not only does lack of sleep have a strong link to high blood pressure, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that it also affects glucose, metabolism and heart health. People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of their weight, age and activity level.
When life gets busy, it can be hard to remember someone’s birthday or what you needed at the grocery store. But if you’re struggling to remember things more than usual, your nocturnal habits might be to blame. A number of studies indicate that poor sleep quality can compromise people’s ability to remember things, especially as they age.
Being tired often results in a complete lack of motivation and can make it hard to find the energy to do anything, let alone exercise. Making that time to exercise, however, might be key in improving your sleep, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It can be as easy as a low-impact workout or taking an invigorating walk. Activity not only helps you fall asleep more quickly, but it also improves your deep sleep, the most beneficial kind of sleep for improving your mood and mind.
There are many downsides to not getting enough sleep, including depression. A study published by BMC Psychiatry finds that insomnia is significantly associated with a greater risk for the mood disorder and it can negatively impact quality of life along with causing the sufferer ongoing distress. Exercise, aromatherapy and mindful meditations are all ways to help boost the hormones that affect happiness.
Even if you practice healthy habits to help prevent getting sick, it might not matter if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Along with raising the risk of chronic health problems, sleep deprivation lowers the body’s ability to fight off illness.
Anyone suffering from inflammation or an inflammatory disease knows that it can be painful and is often the reason behind those sleepless nights. Unfortunately, that awake time is probably contributing to the problem. During sleep, your body produces and releases proteins that can help fight inflammation. With less sleep, it makes less of those proteins, potentially resulting in higher levels of inflammation.
In a study published by the Sleep Research Society, participants who didn’t get enough sleep were photographed then evaluated by students and researchers for appearance. The result was the sleep-deprived subjects were perceived as having hanging eyelids, red and swollen eyes, dark circles, pale skin, droopier mouths and more wrinkles and fine lines. They were also perceived as looking sad.
Ever wonder why the more tired you are, the better junk foods like pizza and ice cream look? Sleep deprivation has been shown to activate the brain’s endocannabinoid (eCB) system, which is more commonly stimulated by marijuana. In effect, fatigue can give you the munchies. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health, participants who hadn’t gotten enough sleep had higher levels of eCB and were more likely to consume unhealthy snacks than those who were well-rested.
A common misperception is that if you don’t get enough sleep one night, you can somehow “catch up” by getting in a few extra hours on the weekend. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t work that way. A study published on the National Institute of Health found that people who were sleep-deprived during the week but slept in on weekends suffered from more disrupted sleep patterns and had a harder time sleeping than people who consistently lacked sleep, or who got enough regularly.
Your late bedtime or insomnia could be the culprit of those extra pounds you’re carrying. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who sleep less than seven hours a night gain more weight than those who get more. In addition to weight gain, lack of sleep has also been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. One thing that could help would be changing your diet to include foods that are good for weight loss.
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