We all know that sleeping is a vitally important part of our lives. Sleep is the time in which your brain gets some rest and your body is able to heal itself and prepare for the next day. Most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, the majority of adults don’t get enough sleep, with the average adult getting 6 or less hours nightly.
Without rest, your brain and body won’t be able to function properly. A lot of people figure that one night of lost sleep isn’t really going to be that bad for them. While it may not be as devastating as a week’s worth of extended sleep deprivation, one restless night can have some unpleasant effects.
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A lot of us have experienced a single night of sleep deprivation. It is not uncommon for people studying for tests during school to stay awake all night. Most of us might not have even realized that we were feeling the effects of sleep deprivation the next day. Of course, we would feel groggy – that’s to be expected. But how many other symptoms of sleep deprivation might we have felt and not attributed to their lost sleep?
You won’t be able to concentrate or multitask.
This comes hand-in-hand with being groggy, and is often the thing that people are most likely to notice when they are sleep deprived. Since your brain has not had time to rest, it will not be able to operate at full speed the next day. Your general cognitive functions will decline, and you will find it more difficult to think, process, use logic, and even form proper sentences.
You will be hungrier.
When you are sleep deprived, your body’s a hormonal system falls out of balance. Sleep is particularly important for regulating the hormonal system that controls your hunger. If you do not get a healthy amount of rest, you might find that you are hungrier the next day then you would have been otherwise. Conversely, you may notice that you’re not hungry at all. Either way, these symptoms won’t result in healthy behaviour.
You’ll be less emotionally stable.
Another important reason that your brain needs to rest because it helps you regulate stress. When you don’t sleep, you become more susceptible to emotional outbreaks and less capable of regulating your response to emotional stimuli.
There is a biochemical reason for this. Cortisol, the hormone that is most closely associated with inducing stress, increases when you don’t sleep. This hormone also regulates your body’s ability to process glucose, which could lead to intense blood sugar spikes.
The increase cortisol levels can manifest as irritability, anger, or seemingly irrational mood swings. On the other hand, you may notice that you are emotionally blunted the day after you have missed a night of sleep.
You’re more likely to get sick.
Sleep is the time in which your immune system is able to dedicate the most effort to eliminating pathogens. While you rest, your body works to expel and destroy anything harmful within it. If you do not sleep, your immune system will not have a chance to do its job. The longer that you go without sleeping, the more compromised immune system will be. This makes you more and more likely to get sick.
You will look haggard.
Depriving yourself of sleep is one of the best ways to make sure that you look terrible the next day. Common symptoms of sleep deprivation that impact your aesthetic include bloodshot eyes, bags under your eyes, greasy hair, and Droopy skin.
In addition to these physical symptoms, you will be emotionally unstable. Whether this is displayed by anger or sadness or irritability, your appearance will probably reflect the way that you feel. When you’re sleep deprived, you tend to wear your emotions on your sleeve.
On top of all that, sleep-deprived people have a tendency to neglect their personal hygiene. If you didn’t sleep, you’re more likely to be scatter-brained in the morning and forget to shower or brush your teeth.
How to sleep better.
Sometimes avoiding sleep deprivation isn’t as easy as simply going to bed. Many people have chronic insomnia which prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep.
These tips and tricks will help ensure that you get a quality night’s sleep. These tips aren’t difficult to implement in your daily routine, so if you have trouble sleeping, you might as well give them a try. They might not help with the most severe cases of insomnia, but it’s worth a shot.
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Make sure you have a comfortable mattress
Your mattress might already be negatively impacting the quality of your sleep. Many people don’t know how important it is to choose a comfy mattress because they’ve never slept on one that’s suited for them.
A mattress that doesn’t suit your body shape and your weight can be a bane on the quality of your sleep. More severe cases, you’ll wake up with body cramps and be very sore the next day. However, this isn’t always the case. If your mattress is only slightly uncomfortable, you will spend good portion of the night tossing and turning in your sleep. This compromises the quality of your sleep and you won’t be as rested as you would be if your mattress was more comfortable.
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Turn off the electronics.
Your body is wired to produce melatonin, the sleeping hormone, when the sun goes down. However, in our modern society, this natural mechanism isn’t as effective. We live surrounded by artificial lights that prevent us from responding to our body’s circadian rhythm. When we are sitting in a room with a light on, our body does not register that the sun is going down outside and it doesn’t produce melatonin.
For this reason, it’s important to turn off all lights and all electronics with screens at least an hour before bed. This will allow your body to begin producing melatonin, which will help ease you into sleep.
Winding down before bed.
It’s very important for you to wind down before you try to fall asleep. There are lots of ways that you could do this. One of the most effective ways to wind down after a long day is to meditate.
Meditating could be as simple as practicing some breathing exercises. Take a deep breath for a count of three, hold it for a count of three, and then exhale for a count of three. Repeat this process and count your breaths as you do so, trying to focus on nothing else. This will help clear the cluttered thoughts out of your mind and will make it easier to fall asleep once you actually lay down.
Another popular way to wind down is to read a book. It is recommended to read fiction books before bed, because they can influence your dreams and promote your imagination.
General tips for somnolence
Don’t eat for at least an hour before bed. Both digestion and the resulting energy Spike that comes from eating food can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Follow a tight schedule. Your body’s circadian rhythm becomes much more reliable if you fall asleep and wake up at the same time. Your internal clock is much more powerful than most people give it credit for if you fall asleep every night at 9 then your body will wire itself to get tired at 9 every day.