If you don’t get enough sleep, the physical symptoms of dark circles, under eye bags and premature aging are the least of your problems. Most of the real damage is done on the inside. So if you think losing a few hours of sleep here and there is no big deal, your body will tell your otherwise. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise, if not, more.
If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you will feel groggy, irritable, overemotional, fatigued and you will also have a slower reaction time. Sleep deprivation has actually been shown to be the same as being intoxicated. It impairs judgement, clear thinking and makes you prone to being easily distracted and agitated.
Sleep is responsible for regulating hormones, including libido. It helps to restore testosterone levels for men and women.
Metabolism. Those who sleep less tend to have more cravings and overeat. You increase your risk for diabetes when not sleeping enough because your ability to control blood sugar is impaired.
Mental health. If you get the right amount of sleep you will be happier, have less depression and anxiety. If you notice when you don’t sleep, you tend to overreact to the smallest of things.
Without sleep, your short term memory and learning capacity suffers.
Immune function. Your body needs rest to recover from working hard every day. Without proper rest you weaken your immune system, thus increasing white blood cell counts. This can make you more susceptible to viruses and infections. I see this frequently in my office. Many people don’t get enough sleep, become run down, and end up getting sick.
Productivity. When you’re exhausted you can’t be very productive. This hinders your ability to concentrate and focus on tasks at hand.
Detoxification. Without proper rest this throws your whole system off. Sleep allows for waste removal. This allows your organs to rest and regroup. Without proper rest you can suffer from constipation and digestive issues.
Simple steps to sleeping better…
1. Shut off your electronics 2 hours before getting to bed. These remit blue light which keeps your brain awake and also disrupts your body’s ability to make melatonin.
2. Avoid eating large meals right before bed. If you eat within an hour before going to bed your meal won’t be digested which makes it difficult to sleep comfortably. Don’t go to bed starving either. This could also cause insomnia. If you had dinner 4 hours before sleeping and are hungry, have a lite snack.
3. Sleep In a dark room. This helps your body to continuously secrete melatonin and will help get you to fall asleep faster.
4. Avoid caffeine and stimulants. These can increase anxiety and keep you up.
5. Don’t go to bed angry and overwhelmed. If you have a “to do” list sounding off in your head, get it on paper before going to bed. This helps tell the brain to stop sounding off and allows it to leave your mind and be put somewhere else. If you are angry try to settle things before going to sleep. If you don’t it will only make things worse and cause more issues with insomnia.
A good night sleep can mean different things to different people. Generally I recommend 7-8 hours a night. Getting the proper amount of sleep is crucial for your physical and emotional health.