Bad Sleep: Why It’s Bad For You and What You Can Do To Fix It
Do you find yourself hardly ever getting your eight hours of shut-eye? Whether it’s your daily schedule or insomnia that keeps you up at night, good quality and a sufficient amount of sleep are vital to your overall health, both mentally and physically. And believe it or not, you’re not alone — the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control found in 2016 that more than a third of Americans are not getting enough good sleep. So why is good sleep important? Let’s take a look at what a lack of rest can do to you, and how a few simple changes to your sleeping habits can make a difference.
How Can Regular Bad Sleep Affect Me?
Poor Focus and Cognitive Function
While you sleep, your brain cells are strengthened, information is transferred, new ideas are consolidated and creativity is enhanced. Without enough sleep, studies show that individuals can inhibit their memory, focus, innovate thinking and problem-solving skills, which can affect your ability to study or work efficiently.
Sleep controls the appropriate release of hormones that manage appetite, energy, metabolism, and glucose processing, without which the body can crave more than its required calorie-intake, finding it difficult to digest meals and store fat quicker.
Heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes are just some of the chronic diseases exacerbated by lack of sleep. By not giving the body ample time to rest and recuperate, your immune system often suffers and bodily functions slow down, causing impaired glucose processing, blood pressure, and overall fatigue says Harvard Medical School.
Consecutive nights of bad sleep have found to be correlated with long-term mood disorders. Studies done by Harvard Med found that subjects who slept four and a half hours per night were more stressed, angry, sad and mentally tired. Further, sleep issues have been correlated with depression, anxiety and mental distress for years.
What Can I Do To Get Better Sleep?
Buy A Good Mattress
If your bed is not comfortable, then the chances of you getting a good rest are reduced. When choosing the right mattress, you have to consider a number of factors: level of support, firmness, and size being the main ones. Whether it’s an innerspring, pillow-top or memory foam mattress, do your research so you can get the best option for your sleep needs.
Regulate Your Sleeping Schedule
Keep your hours of sleep to strictly eight hours a night, and only allow roughly one more hour on the weekends. Make sure to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day as this regulates your internal body clock, and eventually you’ll fall asleep and wake up more naturally.
Manage Your Exposure to Light
Reduced light exposure releases melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Therefore, expose yourself to more light during the day and then limit exposure once the sun sets. Avoiding television and bright screens at least two hours before bed is a good idea, as well as keeping your bedroom dark with no night lights.
Eat Healthy and Stay Active
Exercising regularly means your body will be more tired by the end of the day, which promotes a deep sleep. Avoid naps and stay active so that when nighttime comes, you’re ready to crash. Avoiding big meals, alcohol, and caffeine right before bed is also essential as this can be difficult for your body to process and can disrupt your sleep, HelpGuide.org suggests.
Sleep is vital to maintaining good health, but can often be difficult to achieve consistently. After reading these few points, be sure to put a restful nights sleep as a priority and take the appropriate steps to ensure you get regular shut-eye.