Adequate sleep is critical for health, well-being, and productivity. Being chronically sleep-deprived can increase risks of many threats to health. By taking action to ensure that you are falling asleep easily every night and allowing yourself plenty of time to do so, you are taking charge of your health. Sleep has an impact on the following aspects of health.
Sleep deficiency has shown to alter brain activity. This may impact the emotional response, leading to higher levels of irritability, mood swings, sadness, and trouble getting along with others. Over time, being sleep-deprived can lead to depression and other emotional disorders.
As you sleep, your body repairs and heals itself. When the body is not allowed adequate rest, it is constantly trying to repair and heal while keeping up with the demands of fighting off new threats and keeping you moving and functioning. This burden often has a negative impact on the immune system, putting you at greater risk of illnesses and infections.
Fitness and Weight Control
Several studies have shown a link between obesity and sleep deficiency. When we’re asleep, our bodies are able to regulate hormones. The hormones that control hunger and fullness are more likely to become unbalanced when we are sleep-deprived, with most people feeling hungrier when sleep-deprived than when well rested. The way the body processes sugar and reacts to insulin also changes when we do not receive adequate rest. As a result, our blood sugar rises and puts us at greater risk for developing diabetes.
Reaction Times and Safety
When we are sleep-deprived, our reaction times are affected, which may threaten our safety. Tasks may take longer to complete and attention may be lacking, which can cause traffic accidents, work injuries, and many other types of dangerous incidents. Poor sleep quality can also have as much of an impact on reaction times as shorter sleeping hours.
Tips for Falling Asleep and Improving Sleep Quality
If you feel that your sleep quality is poor or you are having trouble falling asleep, the following tips may be helpful:
- Visit a local chiropractor. Tension in your body may be keeping you from falling asleep or affecting your sleep quality
- Meditate before attempting to fall asleep
- Exercise several hours before bedtime
- Change your bedroom to promote relaxation
- Lower the temperature of your room slightly, temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit are the most conducive to sleep
- Scent the room with lavender
- Listen to soft, soothing music
This guest post was written by Dr. David Bennett from the Physical Health & Rehabilitation clinic.