Here’s How to Get Better Sleep & Avoid Sleep Deprivation
How would you describe your relationship with sleep? It’s complicated? Sleep – what’s that? I’m lucky for a few hours? We all are probably having a rough time getting sleep or any type of rest right now. Do you maybe go through phases in which you’re in bed by 10 every night, book in hand, dozing off pleasantly? Or the flip side, when you’re sitting up in bed, laptop shining bright, stressfully answering emails only to fall into a fitful sleep minutes later?
The former results in a bright-eyed and well-rested adult. The latter results in an overly caffeinated and frazzled mess of a human. (And we’ve all been there, especially lately, with you!)
However, the importance of sleep is one that is too valuable for us all to ignore. More specifically, it’s important to know when your sleep routine is healthy and you can work like a well-oiled machine. When it’s not, you might end up feeling the emotional and physical distress that usually results from a viewing of The Notebook.
And there’s an answer for both of those circumstances that we should all be aware of! Sleep deprivation sets us up for some serious health risks, including a greater risk for various diseases, mood disorders, and more.
Keep reading to learn all the ways that lack of sleep can affect us and how to get better sleep even now!
Sleep Deprivation Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk
According to the National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep is associated with higher rates of certain cancers, namely breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Take it from an article published on the website of Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Disruptions in the body’s ‘biological clock,’ which controls sleep and thousands of other functions, may raise the odds of cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate.” This is especially pertinent to people who work shifts. “Exposure to light while working overnight shifts for several years may reduce levels of melatonin, encouraging cancer to grow.”
Sleep Deprivation Is Linked to Inflammation and Greater Risk of Heart Disease
Lack of sleep has a nasty effect on inflammation and heart health. According to one study, regular sleep deprivation may increase the chance of cardiovascular disease. Researchers proposed that “sleep loss may be one of the ways that inflammatory processes are activated and contribute to the association of sleep complaints, short sleep duration, and cardiovascular morbidity observed in epidemiologic surveys.”
Sleep Deprivation Disrupts Memory
Sleep deprivation could have a negative effect on short-term memory in adults (more specifically, tired adults had more difficulty remembering words they learned than those who were well-rested). Long-term memory is also affected.
That’s according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which states, “Numerous studies have linked disturbed sleep to cognitive impairment in older adults. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been shown to spend more time in bed awake and have more fragmented sleep than those without AD, and studies of healthier older adults document associations between worse self-reported sleep and lower cognitive performance.”
Sleep-Deprived People Are More Likely to Struggle With Their Weight
We’ve all been there. After a fitful night’s sleep, that office snack drawer is all the more tempting. Suddenly, we’re craving processed and sugary foods. As it turns out, there’s a lot of science behind that. Apparently, sleep deprivation increases the brain’s response to high-calorie food. It also increases appetite, which makes sleep-deprived adults more likely to struggle with maintaining a healthy weight.
Sleep Deprivation Lowers Your Immunity
This is crazy but true. Even a single night of bad sleep can lower your immune system‘s ability to function normally, meaning you’ll be more prone to infection. That might explain why sleep-deprived people were almost three times as likely to develop a cold compared to their well-rested peers. Take this as a PSA. Winter is basically here, which means cold and flu viruses are getting ready to spread. Help your immune system out by sleeping, especially during COVID!
Sleep Deprivation Ages Your Skin
This is a big one for beauty enthusiasts like ourselves. Chronic poor sleep quality can be associated with increased signs of intrinsic aging, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance. That means sleep is just as important to our skin care routine as sunscreen, serum, and moisturizer.
Sleep Deprivation Impacts Mental Health
It’s not all physical. Sleep deprivation can also affect your mood and mental health in a big way. Lack of sleep can cause loneliness, irritability, and lower levels of self-reported happiness, among other things. Over time, this can contribute to serious mental health issues. One study found that insomniacs had a “twofold risk to develop depression” when compared to people with no sleep difficulties.
This research is scary, but it’s not meant to increase your sleep stress (which I swear is a real thing). It’s information that’s important to know for developing a consistent and healthy routine. The key word here is consistent, which is something I myself need to work on. Do yourself a favor and commit to a specific bedtime each night. Try practicing good sleep hygiene, which will set you up for a successful night’s sleep.
Massage & Essential Oils Can Help You Get Better Sleep
While you’re at home and we’re starting to open back up, massage is one key way to ensure your body is relaxed and ready for some good Zz’s. Massage is known to help reduce stress and help you get better sleep, for one thing! Another is using essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce tension. If you need either of these things, Botanica Day Spa has you covered! Give us a call today at 727-441-1711.