Sleep Deprivation: The Causes and Effects on Your Wellbeing

sleep deprivation

Getting enough sleep is essential for your health. It is vital to maintain a balanced weight by supporting metabolism and hormonal balance. It also aids in recovery from illness or injury, strengthens your immune system, and helps maintain optimal brain function. And yet, more than 30% of adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, negatively affecting their mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some causes, effects, and solutions to sleep deprivation that you might find helpful.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is defined as the partial or total lack of sleep. It can be caused by an inability to fall asleep, stay up too late, or combine the two. It is usually temporary and should not last more than a few days.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep supports the body’s metabolism and hormonal balance by supporting the body’s metabolism and hormonal balance. It also aids in recovery from illness or injury, strengthens your immune system, and helps maintain optimal brain function.

As can be seen, sleep is necessary for many vital functions, including growth, energy storage, brain waste clearance, modulation of immunological responses, intelligence, efficiency, alertness, disease, and psychological state.

But more than 30% of adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night which can hurt their mental and physical wellbeing and cause sleep deprivation symptoms.

The Effects of Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation affects your mood and the hormones that regulate stress. For example, cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress that can lead to mental and physical health problems, increases without sleep. Research shows that sleep-deprived individuals have higher cortisol levels than those who sleep an average of 8 hours per night.

sleep deprivation
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Too little sleep also affects your weight in a few ways:

  1. It slows down your metabolism and makes it difficult to burn calories efficiently.
  2. Sleep deprivation makes you hungry because it lowers leptin levels–a hunger-suppressing hormone–and increases ghrelin levels–a hunger-stimulating hormone. The combination leads to increased appetite and a higher chance of overeating.
  3. Not getting enough sleep can cause you to crave high-calorie foods like sugary snacks or fried comfort food instead of healthier options like fruits or vegetables.

The effects on your mood are no less severe either: studies show that individuals who don’t get enough sleep report feeling more irritable and anxious (even after one night!). In addition, sleep deprivation has been linked with depression, although research is unclear about the exact cause for this link.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

There are many causes of sleep deprivation leading to sleep deprivation effects. One of the most common is changes in your sleeping environment like a shift in bedroom temperature, noise, light, or uncomfortable bedding. Another cause is having trouble falling asleep.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Sleep deprivation can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes. Obesity, depression, impaired immunity, and lower sexual drive are potential problems. Your appearance may even be affected by chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation signs is common in people who suffer from insomnia due to stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications they take, or the amount of coffee they consume. Anxiety and depression can also cause insomnia and other sleep disorders or mood disorders.

Ways to Improve Your Quality of Sleep

You can improve your sleep quality in many ways, including:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.
  • Spending time in a dark room before bed.
  • Setting an evening bedtime routine.
  • Breaking up long periods of sitting with moments of movement.
  • Keeping your bedroom cool (60-68 degrees).
  • Using your bedroom only for sleep or sex and nothing else.
  • Take a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  • Creating a pre-sleep routine that involves relaxing activities like reading or meditating.
  • Utilizing the “7-minute workout” app on your phone to break up periods of sitting throughout the day so that you’ve had some movement within the last hour before you go to bed.

What are the best foods for a good night’s sleep?

Several foods will help promote better sleep, including

  • bananas
  • chamomile tea, and walnuts
  • almonds
  • Turkey
  • Kiwi
  • Tart cherry juice
  • Passionflower tea.

What are some natural remedies that promote deep, restful sleep? 

Sleep should be between seven and nine hours each night for most adults. Deep sleep should account for between 13% and 23% during that time. In a seven-hour night, you spend approximately 55 minutes to 97 minutes in a deep sleep. As far as deep sleep is concerned, the body regulates its amount.

Photo by Isi Parente on Unsplash

Some natural remedies that promote deep, restful sleep are:

  • A warm bath before bed
  • Drinking tea with a small amount of raw honey
  • Supplementing with magnesium, calcium, or potassium
  • Wearing socks to keep your feet warm and cozy all night long
  • Reading a book before bedtime
  • Avoiding caffeine after 2 pm

How to get a better night’s sleep

People have many reasons why they have difficulty sleeping, and not getting enough sleep can hurt their mental and physical wellbeing. If you want to sleep better, here are some tips:

  • Reduce the amount of light in your bedroom by installing blackout curtains or using an eye mask.
  • Consider using earplugs or an app like White Noise to block out any noise.
  • Try taking a warm bath before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Do not take naps during the day if you struggle to sleep at night.
  • Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down for bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly but make sure it doesn’t come right before bedtime as it could keep you awake.
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