“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” - Thomas Dekker
Are you getting enough sleep? Over a third of American adults get less sleep than they need on an average night (CDC.gov). A staggering eighty percent of adults rely on weekends to catch up on the rest they’ve missed. Sleep is essential for your body and your brain, and not getting enough is a serious problem. The side effects of sleep deprivation can affect everything.
When you are tired, you are more likely to feel grumpy, and you may transfer that energy to others. You may also find it difficult to perform at your best. Drowsiness reduces reaction time, awareness, alertness, and coordination. In fact, sleepiness is one of the most common causes of vehicle collisions and jobsite accidents.
Fatigue sabotages our lifestyle choices, too. When we are overtired, we are more likely to reach for junk food and skip workouts.
Sleep deprivation also has a serious effect on your memory and ability to learn. Your brain performs vital functions when you are asleep, including processing and storing memories. As we age, sleep becomes even more essential. The aging brain is more susceptible to diseases that cause memory loss and cognitive impairment. Sleep deprivation exacerbates these changes.
So how much sleep should you be getting to avoid all of these side effects? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults get at least seven hours every night, with eight to nine hours being ideal (aasm.org). Even one hour less can create long term health problems. Teens and young children need even more sleep, but it isn’t strictly about the numbers. Quality matters too.
Studies show that getting seven hours of sleep broken into three or four sessions is not equivalent to sleeping seven consecutive hours. This explains why disorders which interrupt your sleep—such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless legs syndrome—can have such a dramatic effect on your health and quality of life. When we don’t get quality sleep, we don’t wake feeling well rested and refreshed.
If you struggle with getting enough quality sleep, then it may be time to start making some small adjustments to your lifestyle. The first step in making sleep a priority is establishing a routine. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Create your own plan for prioritizing rest. Sleep is one of our most basic needs. It promotes improved wellness, healing, immunity, and concentration. It is the simplest and most important key to living your best life.
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What To Remember:Sleep deprivation affects your mood, your choices, and your performance at work.
Most adults aren’t getting enough sleep to foster good health.Sleep is essential to preserve memory and brain function as we age.Prioritize sleep to improve your life!
LeWine, Howard. (February, 2021). When should you worry about fatigue? Health.Harvard.edu: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/when-should-you-worry-about-fatigue
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