You feel cranky and unmotivated after a single night of poor sleep. You feel too tired to work, exercise, and eat healthily. When you deprive yourself of sleep repeatedly, you’re more prone to suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Lack of sleep can often make anxiety and depression symptoms more acute.
Whether you cannot sleep because you’re a new parent or because you’re working late at night, you will definitely feel the effects the next day. In this article, we discuss some of the health hazards you expose yourself to when you put sleep on the backburner.
What happens when you experience acute sleep deprivation?
Everyone has nights when they cannot get in the deep sleep mode or when they get to sleep late and awake early in the morning. No matter what the reason behind it is, you know you’ll pay for it in the morning. When doing this repeatedly, you are experiencing a condition called acute sleep deprivation.
When you acutely deprive your body of sleep, you hinder cell growth and muscle recovery. When you cannot rest at night, you feel awful; but it also has long-term effects. Acute sleep deprivation leads to high blood pressure and increased insulin resistance. When suffering from high blood pressure you’re more prone to experience heart disease. Insulin resistance is one of the factors that lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
You’ll also gain weight and feel stressed out because the body’s natural response to lack of sleep is to make you crave for unhealthy foods and increase stress hormones levels.
What happens when you experience chronic sleep deprivation?
Chronic sleep deprivation develops when you sleep inadequately for weeks. Chronic, similar to acute sleep deprivation builds insulin resistance and increases high blood pressure. Alongside the health problems associated with these two conditions, you can also be more susceptible to infections and colds because you’ll develop a week immune system.
Microsleep is another condition associated with chronic sleep deprivation. If you’re home watching TV, it’s ok to nod off, but it can be dangerous to do it behind the wheel.
How can you improve your sleep?
It all starts with a comfortable sleeping environment. Sometimes, your mattress isn’t cushy enough to help you get in the deep sleep mode. If your bed is the reason you don’t rest at night then swap it with the best mattress for your sleep needs.
Stay away from late-night snacks because they disturb sleeping patterns, too. Have your last meal at least three hours before you head for the bedroom.
If you’re an active person, you shouldn’t exercise before bedtime because it increases your body temperature and makes difficult for your body to fall asleep. When you rest, your body temperature drops, meaning physical exercise too close to bedtime can make it difficult to sleep.
When all the above tricks fail, we suggest speaking with your doctor, as your inability to sleep may be the symptom of a health condition. After three weeks of sleep deprivation, visit your health care provider for a check-up.