Published: 03/13/2015 - Updated: 04/01/2017
It’s seems like sleep no longer takes priority in most people’s lives; working is a priority, and sometimes sleep gets pushed aside. It’s normal that with so many obligations, lack of sleep becomes a part of people’s lives, and yet, you should be worried about this because not sleeping enough could have various consequences on health.
Sleeping poorly, in fact, not only affects your performance. It could have even more serious consequences. The primary short term consequences could be lack of concentration, a heightened risk of suffering from accidents, it could affect your judgment and also your mood. Consequences could be more serious over the long term, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and even premature death.
Why do people sleep less?
Currently, sleeping little is more common than we would all like. There are several factors that could change your sleep cycle:
- Using technology devices before going to sleep
- Anxiety and stress
- Poor diet
- Certain health conditions
These could be the primary reasons, but there are other things you should consider as well. It is important to identify events and causes that could harm sleep.
Experts recommend sleeping at least 5 hours a day, but 8 hours a day is recommendable.
Lack of sleep and Productivity
One of the primary consequences of lack of sleep is that your daily performance is affected. If you go to sleep late because you were working, this in fact could be very counterproductive because you are less effective, more prone to making mistakes and having accidents, and sometimes road accidents could prove fatal.
Insufficient sleep and Health Consequences
Good rest has been related to good health. We all know that when you rest, you also feel better, and lack of sleep could affect your health. Science has proven the consequences of sleeping little.
Fatigue is normal when one doesn’t sleep well, however this is not the only health consequence thereof.
It makes people more prone to getting sick: lack of sleep over a long period of time could affect your immune system, making you more prone to illness, colds, or even to some other type of infections.
Increases weight gain: A lot of experts agree that lack of sleep could contribute to obesity because the body feels fatigued and finds a certain amount of relief in high-calorie foods, specifically carbohydrates. That’s why lack of sleep is frequently related to craving foods rich in sugar.
Increased risk of suffering from diabetes: In addition to weight gain, lack of sleep could also be related to a greater risk of developing diabetes. Studies suggest that individuals that sleep less than 5 hours a day could experience changes in the way their bodies metabolize glucose, which leads to type 2 diabetes.
Increased distraction, irritability and confusion: Sleeping poorly, or less than the necessary amount, could cause mood changes. This could leave you in a bad mood, and it could also foster depression and anxiety.
Promotes the development of cardiac diseases: Insufficient sleep has also been related to a greater risk of suffering from heart disease because it could increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Advice for Sleeping Better
Being stressed and continuously worried is quite common in today’s world, so often times, there’s not enough time to rest. It’s easy to not place much importance on sleep, and it gets left aside to dedicate time to other activities that are higher on your list of priorities. But now you know the consequences of not sleeping enough, so find a solution to regulation your sleep cycles.
If you’re used to staying up late, it’s quite likely that you won’t be able to suddenly start sleeping more. Try to go to bed an hour earlier every day, and avoid postponing your bedtime.
Limit your use of electronic devices at night because using monitors, TV’s, cell phones, etc., could affect your sleep, making your nights less restful.
Avoid stimulating or energy drinks because consuming them could alter your sleep habits over a long period of time.
Keep in mind that if you’re not sleeping enough, you will still feel sleepy even after having slept enough. This is because you have accumulated a “sleep debt”, which sooner or later must be compensated for. If you have the change to rest or recover sleep on your off days, like the weekends, try to do so. Sleep until you wake up naturally, not using clocks or alarms. You might sleep 10 hours or more the first few days, but once your body has gotten out of its sleep debt you will need less sleep.