We all get those nights where we just can’t sleep – thoughts of work and kids and that to-do list that you just couldn’t completely mark off, run through your mind. You end up tossing and turning and only getting 3 to 5 hours of sleep, waking to a new morning all sluggish and drowsy. Quickly you fix this with a cup of coffee or an energy drink, and once again you’re up and running and ready to get your day started. But if this is what your night and day looks like almost every day, it could become a bad habit that affects you negatively and can even be quite dangerous. So do you think it’s a good idea to skip some hours of sleep? Think again…
There are many simple reasons or causes for lack of sleep:
- Your room not being dark enough confuses your brain in thinking that it should be awake.
- Exercising too late in the afternoon over stimulates your metabolism and raises your heartbeat.
- Drinking alcohol too late interferes with REM sleep (deep sleep).
- Your brain and body temperature must be cool, so if your room is too warm you will struggle to fall asleep.
- Drinking coffee, which contains caffeine, right before bedtime will keep you awake.
- Watching TV until you feel sleep sounds like a good idea, but the light and sounds stimulate your brain and keeps you awake.
- Eating protein too close to bedtime requires a lot of energy to digest and thus keeps your body awake.
- Stress from work or children or other outside factors keeps your brain active and you don’t relax enough to fall sleep.
- You are sleeping on the wrong mattress!!
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
When you are sleep deprived you can’t concentrate, experience memory problems and you find it difficult to learn new things and absorb information. You become groggy and your balance and coordination is affected, making you accident-prone. Little sleep also weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flu.
More serious affects of a prolonged lack of sleep includes: an increase in your risk of having a stroke, you become obese, increases your diabetes risk, worsens memory loss, contribution towards osteoporosis, increases your risk of cancer, an irregular heartbeat that could lead to a heart attack and less sleep can impact you emotionally, making you moody or depressed.