Am I Getting Enough Sleep?

Getting proper rest is extremely important for your overall health. Even with proper diet and exercise your body still needs rest to be fully healthy.

While you’re sleeping various hormones that repair cells & promote muscle mass are at work. Lack of sleep can lead to various mental and physical side effects both in the short and long term.

Symptoms of not getting enough sleep

Prone to depression & anxiety

Lack of sleep causes the neurotransmitters that regulate mood to sharply drop. The brain’s anticipatory reactions are also amplified which causes people to be anxious and irritable. [1]

Your mind isn’t as sharp

Being excessively tired impairs your memory & ability to think. Your brain finds it harder to process information and normal speed. Lack of sleep impairs concentration and your ability to pay attention.

This is especially seen in the workplace in the form of accidents, errors and reduced productivity. Sleep deprivation has caused many costly but preventable accidents over the years.

More likely to get colds & flu’s

Sleep is when your body heals itself in preparation for the next day. Your immune system produces protective antibodies and cells during your sleep that fight off bacteria and viruses. [2]

Increase risk of breast cancer

Being exposure to light at night time has been shown to reduce melatoinin production in your body. This reduction also causes an imbalance of estrogen levels, too much of which promotes the growth of breast cancer.

Disruption of the circadian rhythm

You can image the circadian rhythm as your body’s internal clock. It’s responsible for the waves of tiredness you feel throughout the day. Sleep is regulated by sleep/wake homeostasis as well as the circadian rhythm. [3] A lack of sleep interrupts this natural rhythm and can lead to various side effects.

A few things to help you sleep

  • Try and keep a routine.
    • This makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up at a certain. It will be difficult to adjust at first. Typically it takes 7 days to adjust to a new sleep pattern but only 1 day to return to your old ways.
  • Make sure you get regular exercise
    • People that exercise consistently are likely to sleep better & find it easier to stick to a certain schedule. Try adding in a brief walk in the evening.
  • Stop eating before bed
  • Turn off the tv
    • Falling asleep with the tv on is a bad habit to develop. Try sleeping in a completely quiet & dark environment.
  • Take short naps
    • If you nap during the day try not to sleep any longer than 30 minutes. The more sleep you get the hard to fall asleep at night.
  • Don’t use alcohol to sleep
    • Alcohol can help you to fall asleep but it diminishes the quality of sleep you’re getting. You’re more likely to wake up during the night & spend less time in REM sleep.

Disorders associated with sleep:

  • Insomnia
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Periodic limb movement
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy

[1] http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/sleep-debt

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/

[3] http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock/page/0/1

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