Ensuring you’re living as healthy a life as possible doesn’t just mean eating well and exercising often; in actual fact this might just be one new year resolution that you can’t wait to start! This blog is all about those zzz’s!
We all know that we should be aiming for a healthy 8 hours sleep a night, but did you know that sleep deprivation can actually have serious affects on your health? Here are just a few of the things that can happen if you’re skimping on the snooze this year…
Bye bye memories!
Now we all know if we didn’t get a great sleep the night before, we can feel a bit groggy and may not really be with it. However, if you skip the bedtime routine often enough you can actually start to lose memories. It is believed that when we are asleep our brain uses that time to repeat information in order to help us remember it. No sleep, no repetition, no memories.
Forget about hanger…
No sleep may equate to a rollercoaster of emotions for you. This is due to your un-rested brain causing disruption between information processing and emotional regulation regions. This can cause us to focus on negative experiences, misinterpret facial expressions and communications, and just generally be in an all round bad mood.
Hallucinations & Lack of Concentration
When your brain isn’t functioning at optimal, it can no longer appropriately filter the stimuli that is important and not important; it can no longer tell what is real and what isn’t. This can lead to some pretty scary moments where you actually see or hear things that aren’t really there, along with completely spacing out and not being able to pay attention to anything. Not the best way to start the New Year right?
Do you ever wake up from a heavy night out and realise that you maybe didn’t make the best decisions? Well, now you can do just that but without the hangover. Just like how alcohol causes stimulation to our pleasure centre and reduces the function of our inhibitions and decision making processes, lack of sleep does the exact same. This may lead to poor judgement and some rather bad decisions.
If all of the above isn’t encouragement enough for you to hit the hay early then this next one might just do the trick…
Permanent Brain Damage
Just like you lose muscle if you don’t exercise for a while, lack of sleep causes brain cells to switch off – this also occurs in those who have high exposure to stress. If anything is switched off long enough in the body, it eventually will die. If this damage reaches the brain stem then often, it becomes irreparable.
So here is the National Sleep Foundation’s top tips to how you can improve your sleeping patterns:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
5. Evaluate your bedroom. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool and free from any noise that can disturb your sleep.
6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.
7. Avoid any electrical or chemical stimulants that may increase brain activity right before bedtime; such as watching TV, using your phone, coffee and alcohol. Instead, try reading a book and a cup of tea.
So we hope you all sleep tight tonight, and if you need any stress management or relaxation tips then get in touch today.
– The Global Health Team –