If you suffer from lack of sleep, you wake up cranky, stiff and slow.
The idea of waking up feeling refreshed and alert is a faint dream that doesn’t even show up in your dreams – because you don’t have any, because you didn’t sleep(!)
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily lives (at least once in the past week).
67% of those also reported they deemed their health “poor” or “only fair”. Lack of sleep is linked not only to poor health but also to mood disorders and low productivity.
If you’re also struggling with weight, sleep is highly correlated to more cravings for sweet and salty foods. Also, there is increased chance of your hunger hormone, ghrelin, to be at high levels while your appetite-control hormone, leptin, can be lower all due to poor sleep.
Many of the tips about lack of sleep attribute this problem to:
Lack of sleep impacts our interpretation of events, so we do not assess situations correctly and thus make unwise decisions about them. As I mentioned before, in our fast-paced culture, being able to function on less sleep is considered a badge of honor.
You might be used to less sleep and think that you’re doing just fine but what’s most probably happening is that you’re not even aware of how impaired you are due to adaptation. It’s like a catch 22.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from lack of sleep:
According to Medical News Today, there are 3 strategies that might aid you in fighting your lack of sleep without medication: learn some relaxation techniques (like tensing and untensing muscles), controlling pre-bedtime stimulus (like entertainment and drinks), and behavioral therapy (to understand thought patterns associated to sleep).
Although it is a natural process and should come to us “naturally”, sleep is a delicate function that sometimes needs some TLC.
In the next part of this series we’ll explore the fascinating cycles of sleep, the relationship between sleep and our environment and how we can better sync them to achieve a good night’s sleep.
National Sleep Foundation, Lack of sleep is affecting Americans, https://sleepfoundation.org
Johns Hopkins Medicine, Healthy sleep, www.hopkinsmedicine.org
Medical News Today, What’s to know about sleep deprivation, www.medicalnewstoday.com
National Institutes of Health, How is the body affected by sleep deprivation?, www.nichd.nih.gov