Running on minimal sleep is an annoyance at best...but seriously harmful to your health at worst. Here’s how you can change that.
Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep a day for optimal health, but it is reported that 70% of people do not get that amount. Around 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation—which can be detrimental to the quality of their life.
Sufficient sleep is essential to our bodies and lives. Read on to find out more about sleep deprivation and how you can combat it to get in the Zs you need.
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
There is no set factor that causes sleep deprivation, nor is it a specific disease. It is the by-product of other illnesses or conditions.
Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, including:
- Sleep Disorders. Narcolepsy, insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome can all contribute to lack of sleep.
- Aging. Older people sleep more lightly and for shorter periods than younger people. Those over 65 are also less likely to get the sleep they need.
- Illness. Sleeplessness often accompanies conditions like depression, schizophrenia, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and chronic pain syndrome.
- Other Reasons. Many people are sleep deprived because of reasons out of their control, like a change in schedule, a new baby, high-stress, an uncomfortable bed, or a room that’s too hot.
How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Body and Brain?
On occasional days when you don’t get enough sleep, the next morning will bring bouts of irritability, sluggishness, and drowsiness. This is standard for minor sleep deprivation. But the longer your body goes without enough sleep, sleep deprivation symptoms worsen.
Serious symptoms of sleep deprivation can affect your overall health by increasing illnesses and conditions in your immune system, respiratory system, and central nervous system.
Immune System Risks
- Higher risk of developing infections
- Lessen white blood cell counts
- Increased risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease
Respiratory System Risks
- Worsens existing respiratory diseases
- Increased risk for respiratory infections like cold and flu
Central Nervous System Risks
- Increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses
- Increase in suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decrease in creativity and critical thinking
- Decrease fertility
- Increase weight gain
- Hinder growth hormones in children
- Release of stress hormones
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
5 Ways You Can Get Enough Sleep
Don’t let sleep deprivation negatively affect your health. Put routines in place to help you get the amount of sleep you need.
Set Up a Bedtime Routine
When you have a set routine before bedtime, it helps your brain separate night from day. This can help facilitate the release of melatonin, which helps you sleep. A bedtime routine can be as simple as brushing your teeth, putting on your pajamas, and getting into bed.
Go To Sleep at the Same Time Every Night
Going to bed at the same time every night helps you cut down your sleep latency, which is the time it takes to fall asleep. This can contribute to sleeping for longer times.
Caffeine improves cognitive performance and keeps us alert. But if you take caffeine too late in the day, it can mess up your sleep schedule and prevent you from falling asleep. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine products 6 hours before your bedtime since that is how long it takes for your body to metabolize it.
Use Calming Products
Calming products, like essential oils and lavender-scented lotions or candles, can help you unwind and relax, making it easier to fall asleep. Try A88CBD™ CBD-Infused Essential Oil. It is infused with lavender for a soothing fragrance and full-spectrum CBD to help promote relaxation.
Short naps throughout the day don’t really affect sleep quality, but if you take long, frequent naps throughout the day, falling asleep and staying asleep can prove difficult.