Here is what happens to your body and brain if your sleep is decreased:
- Alertness is decreased – missing 1-2 hours will have an impact
- Memory – how you process and remember basic information is affected
- Increased stress – you may feel moody and more likely move toward a conflict state of mind
- Exercise – You find it hard to participate in or even to actually exercise, which in turn will have an effect on your mood all over again
- Accidents – Driving tired has accounted for numerous accidents and fatalities
The above problems are only on short term sleep, if you continue to operate without the proper amount of sleep you will start to see more long term issues and sometimes serious health problems. Sleep deprivation can trigger high blood pressure, obesity, depression and in chronic cases, heart attack and or strokes! Focused enough?
Did you also know that a lack of sleep can affect your appearance? It can lead to premature wrinkling, dark circles under your eyes, and it also tends to increase the stress hormone cortisol within the body, thus making recovery harder.
So what do we do? Of course there is a time and a place for lack of sleep, Military, LEO, shift workers and new parents know this all too well. However, we can minimise the blow to the body and mind with these simple steps.
- Naps – a 30 min nap can reverse the impact of a bad nights sleep
- Hydrate – when you are fatigued you get dehydrated, the more water you drink the more awake you feel
- Exercise – training boosts adrenaline levels, speeds up metabolism, and will improve the way you feel
- Go outside – sunlight helps you battle the sleepiness, increases your vitamin D and B levels. It will improve your mood, improve your immune system and help you to focus.
- Social media/LED lights – take all the phones, computers, tablets out of your room. Artificial light will interrupt your sleep and your circadian rhythm, which is how your body regulates so many of the important systems within the body. Blackout your room and you will sleep better!
- Track your sleep patterns – record your sleep everyday, self monitoring can keep you aware of how much you have or haven’t got, and will allow you to make better choices based on this knowledge.
In the end, the more you know about it the better informed decisions you can make day to day on how and what you do. Make some simple changes when and if your sleep patterns are being disrupted and you’ll come out the other end of it all a much more productive person!
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