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How Sleeping Less Is Doing You More Harm Than Good?

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Introduction

Sleep is a vital function that is often compromised in our lives these days. The prime reasons for this neglect are overworking throughout the day and leading an unhealthy and unregulated lifestyle. The present generation glorifies being a workaholic and wears sleep deprivation (visibly noticeable by the appearance of dark circles, swollen eyes and pale and dull-looking skin as per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine) as a badge of honour. Sleeping less than 5 – 6 hours a couple of times a month, though acceptable, can become an overarching health problem if it becomes a staple habit in due time.

The pandemic has significantly increased stress and anxiety in people’s lives. Not only has work pressure increased but also the stress and negativity at home and the outside world has impacted mental health adversely. This has taken a toll on sleep at night. As per the Sleep Foundation Organisation, the Pandemic has led to the formation of a new concept known as ‘Coronasomnia’ which refers to corona induced insomnia troubles.

In this blog, we will take a look at the benefits of good sleep for your mental as well as physical well-being. 

5 Impacts of Poor Sleeping Habits

1. Less Sleep Equals to More Weight Gain 

As per many studies, poor sleep or shorter sleep duration at night is linked to obesity as well as weight gain. Sleeping fewer hours impacts your hormones and makes your muscles sore. This makes exercising difficult. Furthermore, effects of poor sleep include an increase in your appetite for more carbohydrate-enriched or sugary foods thereby contributing to your weight gain. This is because sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in the hormone called leptin which sends the message of satiety to your brain and increases the hormone ghrelin which promotes more feelings of hunger.

Sleeping for 7 – 8 hours solid every night is essential for a healthy and well-functioning body. 

2. Poor Sleep Quality Makes You Depressive 

Mental health disorders are strongly linked to sleep disorders. Those who sleep for less than 6 hours every night stand a high chance of developing insomnia and feel irritable and less productive during the day. Chronic insomnia conditions were in turn interlinked with depression and anxiety. When it comes to good mental health the importance of good sleep is uncontested. 

3. Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Overall Health 

It has been scientifically proven that those who slept for shorter durations had a more compromised immune system. Such people were more prone to catching colds and flu. Sleeping 8 hours daily can strengthen your immunity and help you to fight commonplace conditions such as the common cold. 

Additionally, when you don’t sleep properly, the cells of your body get insufficient time to repair. Sleep loss also aggravates cell damage and leads to inflammation. The benefits of good sleep include keeping long-term inflammatory issues such as Crohn’s disease under control.

4. Good Quality Sleep Promotes Productivity and Focus 

This is a known fact that poor sleep adversely affects your cognitive powers and concentration. When you sleep properly at night, it helps you to focus better at work or school/college. You are more alert and less forgetful. Those who slept 6 – 8 hours every day were found to be more productive with their time as opposed to those who slept less or did not sleep at all to finish their tasks. 

A good night’s rest is essential for memory consolidation. When we are awake we acquire or learn new things and also recall these bits of information when the need arises. For something to become a part of our long-term memory, it needs to settle in the deeper recesses of the brain. This process is known as consolidation and it takes place when you sleep at night.

5. Poor Sleep Affects Skin and Health 

Another known fact is that of the importance of good sleep for healthy skin and hair. When you sleep less, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that further catalyses the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is a type of protein that promotes skin elasticity and makes it look younger and glowing. Poor sleep contributes to fine lines, puffiness, wrinkles, dark circles and overall makes you look dull and older than your years. Good quality sleep promotes healthy skin and shiny and smooth hair.

How to Ensure a Healthy Sleep Ritual

Getting a good night’s sleep is no rocket science and can be easily achieved by following a few tips. But once you embark on your mission to get the quality sleep you must ensure to maintain consistency otherwise soon you will fall into your old ways. Here are a few ways you can aim to get restful sleep:

  • Have a fixed wind-down and wake-up time (irrespective of whether it’s a weekday, weekend or holiday).
  • Dim lights in your room or sleep in a completely dark room.
  • Switch off from social media and other devices at least an hour before.
  • Read a book or listen to soothing music.
  • Eat a light dinner at least 2 – 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise during the day.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before you sleep. Nicotine can also hamper your ability to go to sleep quickly. 
  • Wear comfy and loose cotton clothes. 
  • Prioritize sleep and discontinue late-night activities such as partying with friends, movie night with your family or working late into the night.
  • Avoid eating or working on your bed. Keep a space reserved for sleeping. 

Conclusion

Sleep is essential for a well-functioning mind and body. During sleep, your body and brain undergo an array of repair processes. If you feel that the pandemic has disrupted your sleep cycle and you are suffering from various sleep disorders, it is advised that you seek medical attention. The more you disregard the importance of good sleep at night the more you put yourself at risk of developing various health disorders. 

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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