Sleep is on of these subjects that everyone knows a little about, but seldom do I see this knowledge ever put into practice. I’ll also discuss some very relevant tips on sleep that you probably don’t know about.
Did you know you can die quicker from lack of sleep than you can from lack of water? It feels like that, and all of us have at some stage felt what a real lack of sleep does, walking around looking like you are functioning but inside you struggle to form a thought. Here is what happens to your body and brain as you decrease your sleep;
- Decrease alertness (missing 1-2 hours will have an impact)
- Memory – a lack of sleep will affect how you process and remember basic information
- Stress – It will make you feel moody and you will more likely move toward a conflict state of mind
- Exercise – You find it hard to participate or to even exercise which in turn will have a effect on your mood all over again
- Accidents – Driving tired has accounted for numerous accidents and fatalities. Your ability to react
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 problems 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…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 to well. However we can minimize 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.
- Drink more – 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 you mood, improve you immune system and help you focus.
- Social media/LED lights – take all the phones, computers out of your room. Artificial light will interrupt your sleep, it will interrupt your circadian rhythm, which is how your body regulates so many of the important systems within the body. Black out your room and you will sleep better!
- And 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 around 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!