Insufficient sleep does more than make you feel groggy the next day. Poor sleep can have a significant effect on your health, both in the short term and the long term. In fact, getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising for the following reasons.
- Ability to Learn
During sleep, your brain processes all the information it received throughout the day. Inadequate sleep means that your brain is unable to take in everything you have learned. This impacts your ability to continue learning and developing skills the next day.
- Mental Health
Your brain also needs sleep to function in other ways. In other words, when you lack sleep, your mental health is affected. You may find it more difficult to make decisions, solve problems, and control your emotions. You may also find that you lack motivation.
An ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to serious mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. People who suffer from insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are at a particularly high risk for depression.
Finally, insufficient sleep can encourage risk-taking and impulsive behaviors due to poor judgement. To make matters worse, poor judgement can stop you realizing that what you need is more sleep.
- Cognitive Capabilities
When you are sleep deprived, it is more difficult to concentrate, think, and pay attention. This impacts everything from your creative skills to your performance. It can also increase the risk you’ll make mistakes. In children, this inability to focus can lead to poor grades at school. If your job requires attention to detail, the consequences can be devastating.
You probably think the way to combat obesity is a better diet and more exercise. Actually, you also need to sleep more. People who only sleep for a short amount of time every night tend to be much heavier than those who get enough sleep. For instance, one study found that 89 percent of adults and 55 percent of children are more likely to become obese due to a reduced number of hours asleep.
- Immune System
Your body produces cytokines and other substances to fight infections as you sleep. This gives you the capability to fight off viruses and bacteria. If you’re always getting sick, a lack of sleep may be to blame. You may also notice that you take longer than other people to recover from illnesses.
A sleep deficiency can make you forgetful in the short term. Continued lack of sleep can even impact formation of long-term memories, meaning you have little recollection of entire events.
During sleep, your body releases some hormones but reduces the amount of others. One hormone produced during sleep is leptin, which keeps your appetite in check. Sleep deprivation reduces the production of leptin but increases the amount of ghrelin in your body — a hormone that causes you to feel hungry. As a result, less sleep makes you hungrier and encourages you to consume more calories throughout the following day.
- Heart Health
Those who sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of high blood pressure. This is not all — sleep also contributes to heart health by repairing tissue in the heart and blood vessels and controlling levels of chemicals in the body that are linked to inflammation. Sleep deficiency puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Bowel Disease
Inflammation has an impact on more parts of the body than just the heart. It is also linked to digestive disorders. If you suffer from problems with your digestive tract, such as with Crohn’s disease, it is extra important to sleep enough to prevent long-term inflammation.
Your body controls your blood sugar levels by releasing insulin. Sleep deprivation changes how your body responds to insulin and can cause symptoms of pre-diabetes. If you leave these symptoms untreated and continue to sleep too little, you may develop type 2 diabetes.
- Athletic Abilities
As you would expect, less sleep leads to lower levels of energy. This impacts your athletic abilities in numerous ways. For example, if you play a sport, you’ll find that you move slower, have decreased reaction times, and poor accuracy after a night of only a few hours sleep. You may also have less strength for everyday activities.
- Sex Drive and Fertility
In men (especially those who suffer from sleep apnea), a sleep deficiency can lead to lower levels of testosterone, resulting in a lower sex drive. Women also suffer from a decreased libido when they sleep too few hours. In addition, a lack of sleep can impact fertility, making it more difficult to conceive.
Micro-sleep is a brief moment in which you fall asleep during the day without realizing it. It occurs when you are extremely tired, particularly when you are carrying out a monotonous task. As micro-sleep can easily happen when you are driving, it is a common cause of road accidents. In fact, fatigue was linked to 72,000 crashes and 800 fatalities in 2013 alone.
Insufficient sleep makes your body feel weak. One result of this is poor balance and coordination, putting you at risk for accidents like falls.
A severe lack of sleep for a prolonged period can cause you to have visual and auditory hallucinations.
- Social Skills
In addition to making you more susceptible to mood swings, a lack of sleep can influence your interactions with other people by decreasing your ability to recognize emotions in facial expressions. This can mean that you miss social cues and misunderstand situations.
- Human Growth Hormone Production
You produce human growth hormone all the time but release the most during sleep. Your body needs sufficient human growth hormone to build muscle and to heal tissue. Human growth hormone production is extra important for children — to avoid stunted growth and poor development.
- Signs of Aging
A couple nights of missed sleep leads to a puffy eyes and a tired appearance that may make you look older. However, a regular sleep deficiency can cause permanent signs of premature aging. This is partly because of a lack of human growth hormone but also due to increased production of cortisol — the hormone related to stress. Large amounts of cortisol in the body break down the collagen in your skin, leading to wrinkles and rings under the eyes.
To avoid all these health problems, you need to ensure that you sleep well every night. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done for many people — the likelihood is you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep for the entire night at least occasionally. Maybe you’ve even tried multiple techniques to sleep better without success. An aid that works for everyone is weighted blankets.
Although weighted blankets were originally designed for people with conditions like autism, ADHD, and OCD, it quickly became obvious that they can also help with insomnia, anxiety and stress, conditions that keep people up at night. Not only is a heavy blanket like a hug, it helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol while boosting sleep and happiness hormones like serotonin and melatonin. For a better sleep and a better mindset, weighted blankets are key! Even if nothing else has worked, weighted blankets will — and you’ll finally receive the rest you need to stay in good health.
It's time for a better night's rest
Thousands of Tune customers have started sleeping better and waking well rested thanks to the power of the Tune Weighted Blanket... Now it's your turn!
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