A lack of sleep can be the underlying cause of numerous health issues, including weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mood swings. The sleep deprivation makes us prone to sickness and increases our risk of serious health problems, including premature death.
Our body needs between 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a bad mood, irritability, grogginess, and numerous other side effects, such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
About 1 of 3 adults suffers from the consequences of sleep deprivation, according to NHS,. Maybe taking a nap during the day can alleviate the symptoms of the lack of sleep, it cannot substitute a good night sleep.
Sleep deprivation in most cases is caused as a result of stress, poor lifestyle choices, anxiety, medications, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, smoking, and sleep disorders.
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Here are some of the negative effects of sleep deprivation:
* A lack of sleep impacts nighttime glucose regulation and predisposes a person to diabetes.
* Sleep deprivation can also be a cause of a heart disease, since short sleep or disrupted sleep patterns increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.
* It can also cause chronic inflammation. This is because the body does not have enough time to repair the damage done during the day and recharge. Long- term inflammation can raise the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
* A lack of sleep can cause weight gain, since it affects hormones, and increases the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin while inhibiting leptin levels. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes us feel full. It also affects glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and raises the risk of obesity
* Insufficient sleep can also cause cancer, as it weakens the immune system and makes one prone to various diseases. Insomnia and sleep apnea have even scientifically shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, oral cancer, or prostate cancer
* Sleep deprivation has negative effects on the brain function and impedes the mental abilities, leaving you tired, frustrated, forgetful, and with difficulty to concentrate. It reduces attention and impedes the problem-solving skills
The following tips can help you improve your sleep quality and thus lower the risks linked to sleep deprivation:
- Have a strict bedtime and wake-up time that you will follow even on weekends
- An hour before going to bed, avoid bright artificial lights and noise
- Avoid strenuous workout before going to bed
- Don’t eat heavy meals or have caffeinated or alcoholic drinks before going to bed
- Try some relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep easily, such as deep breathing exercises
Deep, slow, self-aware breathing is an ancient and powerful way to relieve stress and tension, and relax in order to prepare your body and mind for a nightly transition to sleep. It stimulates a series of physiological changes that help relaxation, including lowering muscle tension, metabolism, and blood pressure, and slowing breathing rate and heart rate.
It can be done in a simple way, by taking a series of even, slowly inhale and exhale breaths as a regular routine during the day or when
You can also try some structured breathing exercises, such as the popular “4-7-8” breathing.
Lie in a comfortable position, with the eyes open or closed, as you prefer. Then, inhale for four seconds, and hold the breath for seven seconds. Again, exhale slowly for eight seconds, and repeat the entire procedure several times.
You will increase the oxygen levels in the body by inhaling deeply and holding your breath, so you will allow it to work less hard. On the other hand, the long and slow exhale has a meditative property that is inherently relaxing. It is also very similar to the pace of breathing the body adopts while you’re falling asleep.
Therefore, deep breathing before bedtime actually imitates the breathing patterns of sleep onset and makes the body and mind ready to enter an all-important period of rest.
You will also benefit a lot from guided imagery, biofeedback, autogenic training, and progressive relaxation.