Poor Sleep Quality is More Damaging than You Think
Do you spend most of your night tossing and turning? If you experience discomfort or difficulty sleeping, there is a big chance for you to wake up feeling tired, unfocused, and grumpy. If it happens regularly, poor sleep quality can significantly affect your physical and mental health.
What are the effects of poor sleep quality?
It is tempting to spend the hours you are supposed to be sleeping doing other stuff like finishing important deadlines or watching an extra episode of your favourite television show. Sleep shall not be compromised.
Long-term sleep deprivation drains your body and affects your cognitive functions. Other health risks are as follows:
Weak immune system
Sleep is important to support your immune system. Sleep goes beyond letting your body rest, but it works to help your body do its repairs while you are in discrete mode. Long-term sleep deprivation weakens your body's defense against diseases. You are more susceptible to experiencing common colds, flu, inflammation, and more severe conditions when exposed to germs and viruses. Sleep deprivation also affects how you recover from diseases.
High blood pressure
Aside from proper diet and exercise, sleep is paramount to keeping well-balanced hormones, healthy heart rate, stabilised breathing, and proper blood circulation. Continued lack of sleep may lead to increased blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, high blood pressure heightens the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Drastic weight gain
Sleep deprivation can affect your hormones and metabolism, causing weight gain. Your sleep quality affects your body's signal to regulate your food intake. Insufficient sleep disrupts the balance of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, responsible for your food intake. When you are sleep-deprived, your leptin, the hormone that tells you that you are already full, decreases. If you experience a noticeable change in your eating habits, the neurotransmitters that tell you whether you're hungry or full might have already been affected by your lack of sleep.
Risk for diabetes and heart disease
Unhealthy sleep habits affect your body's insulin production, increasing the risk of getting diabetes and other heart diseases. Overweight individuals, also sometimes caused by lack of sleep, are more at risk of heart diseases.
Lack of sleep causes poor body coordination and lack of balance.
One of the widely known results of inadequate sleep is having a poor memory. When you sleep, your brain helps you remember information and retain it. Lack of sleep significantly affects both your short-term and long-term memory.
Difficulty to concentrate
Notice when you lack sleep, you're having a hard time focusing on things you should accomplish. Lack of sleep targets your creativity and thinking skills.
When you do not sleep enough, you get grumpy and easily irritated. This is because brain activities happen during sleep. Lack of sleep disrupts brain activities involving positive emotional information. Escalated cases result in stress, mood disorders, anxiety, or depression. Insomnia, a widely known sleep disorder, is also linked with mental health conditions.
What are the causes of poor sleep quality?
There are multiple factors linked to sleep deprivation. Your lifestyle, schedule, sleep hygiene, environment, and some underlying medical conditions affect the quality of your sleep.
Typically, sleep deprivation results from voluntary actions like watching television or browsing the internet until midnight and inconsistent sleep schedules that affect your body clock. Working when you are supposed to be asleep also affects your sleep schedule, especially when you experience stressful events along the way.
Speaking of stress, mental health conditions also deteriorate your sleep quality. Medical conditions like sleep apnea cause your sleep to be disturbed. Aside from assessing these factors, it is also necessary to evaluate your surroundings. Is your bedroom conducive to sleep? Are your mattress, bed frame, and bedding giving you the right amount of support for your sleep? Does your partner snore?
From small to deeper causes, it is important to figure out the cause of your sleep deprivation to fix it.
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
If you sleep less than 7 hours every day and feel tired just after waking up, it is time to check your sleep quality. You will see noticeable changes in your energy level, concentration and you are prone to demonstrating mood changes if you lack sleep. You would not like to experience the prolonged results of sleep deprivation before taking action.
What can you do to improve your sleep quality?
The key to improving your sleep quality is improving your lifestyle. First things first, acknowledge that sleep is vital to your health. When you know the importance of sleep, you will not choose to compromise it.
Here are some tips that you can follow to improve your sleep quality and your health as a whole:
Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Blue light from your television, smartphone, or other gadgets reduces your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. Set up a schedule to watch your television. When using your devices, wear glasses that can help block the blue light. As much as possible, do not expose yourself to blue light two hours before sleeping.
Minimise your caffeine intake
Your favourite coffee stimulates your body, helping you stay energised and focused throughout the day. Often, the effect lasts until the night. As much as possible, do not consume caffeine six hours before you go to bed. Afternoon coffee stays in your system for six hours, making your brain and body active even during the night.
Reduce your daytime nap
A disorganised body clock affects your sleep quality at night. If you take long naps during the day, you confuse your body clock, giving you a hard time sleeping when you are supposed to be asleep. To address this, if you need to take power naps to keep you focused during the day, make sure to take them for only thirty minutes or less.
Create a bedtime routine to prepare your body before sleep
A good bedtime routine helps you relax and prepare your body thirty to sixty minutes before you sleep. When setting up your bedtime routine, it is good not to include your gadgets in the plan. Consider reading, drawing, or journaling as an alternative activity to relax your mind and body before going to sleep. An excellent bedtime routine includes taking a warm bath, stretching, preparing your bedroom, and taking a relaxing non-caffeinated tea instead of eating heavy snacks. You can also listen to relaxing music if it helps you ease your mind.
Set up a sleep schedule
To improve the quality of your sleep, it is important to set up a fixed sleep schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. Creating a sleep diary can help you monitor your progress. Having a consistent sleep schedule will help you fix your body clock.
Make sure your bedroom is conducive for sleeping
Make your room cool and quiet. If you cannot sleep with lights off, choose dim lights to help you relax and ready to sleep. Remove the unsightly clutter that can disrupt your attention.
Invest in a high-quality mattress and beddings
Your mattress matters in improving your sleep quality. If your mattress is too soft or too hard for you, if it is too old or inefficient in supporting you and your partner's sleeping needs, you will find it hard to enjoy a good night's rest. But you do not need to go to the hotel to sleep on a good mattress. All you need is an efficient mattress that can cater to your needs. A mattress that gives you the proper contour comfort and body support will help you get rid of the tossing and turning at night. It also allows you to relieve back, shoulder and neck problems that disrupt your sleep. When buying your mattress, make sure to get a unit that will support your sleeping position and your spine condition.
It is also good to invest in high-quality beddings with anti-dust mite and anti-allergen properties. An excellent aromatherapy pillow can also help you relax.
Consult a sleep specialist
If you have been consistently struggling to sleep, you should visit a medical expert. This is because an underlying health problem might already cause your sleep deprivation. If you carefully follow an expert's advice and practice proper sleep hygiene, you can experience the benefits of a good night's rest.
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