Many of us try to sleep as little as possible. There are so many things that seem more interesting or important than getting a few more hours of sleep, but just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! Even minimal sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress.
Sleep isn’t exactly a time when your body and brain shut off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential.
As you start getting the sleep you need, your energy and efficiency will go up. In fact, you’re likely to find that you actually get more done during the day than late at night. By understanding your nightly sleep needs and what you can do to bounce back from chronic sleep loss, you can finally get on a healthy sleep schedule.
1. Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning.
You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.
2. Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.
Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by one–two hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.
3. Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.
The quantity of sleep you get is important, sure, but it’s the quality of your sleep that you really have to pay attention to. Some people sleep eight or nine hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.
4. You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.
Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.
5. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times.
While it may seem like losing sleep isn’t such a big deal, sleep deprivation has a wide range of negative effects that go way beyond daytime drowsiness. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being drunk.
The effects include:
• Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
• Moodiness and irritability
• Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
• Inability to cope with stress
• Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
• Concentration and memory problems
• Weight gain
• Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
• Difficulty making decisions
• Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
6. Smoking or drinking in the evening can affect the quality of your sleep.
Substances like alcohol and nicotine can disrupt deep sleep. It’s best to limit them before bed. This also applies to some sedatives and sleeping medicine
7. Sleep deprivation can make you put on weight.
Some of the effects of poor sleep include fatigue, lethargy and lack of motivation, these effects could make you for sugary drinks to boost your energy; the excess energy could result in excess fat in the body.
Sleep deprivation is also said to have direct link to overeating and weight gain; there are two hormones in your body that regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. However, when you don’t get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite so you want more food than normal, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave for.
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