Feelgood Health

Chronic Lack of Sleep Can Have Serious Health Consequences. Health Risks and How to Solve the Problem

When last did you have a good night’s sleep? You’ve heard this before, “getting a good night’s rest is important”, but how many of us actually make sleep the priority we should?

Many of us believe that we can get by on a few hours shut eye and still expect to be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next day. Unfortunately, not getting eight hours of quality sleep will eventually take its toll on you and affect your health, work and personal life.

We look at the negative effects of lack of sleep and what you can do to get a better night’s rest.

The risks of not getting enough sleep

There are a number of risks associated with loss of sleep. Studies show that a lack of sleep can affect your overall health, work performance and relationships.

1. Affects your thinking and learning patterns

Not getting enough sleep definitely impacts your cognitive processes. Take a moment and think about how productive you are at work after a poor night’s sleep. Not great hey? You feel groggy, your brain is foggy and you are unable to concentrate.

When you are tired, it is very difficult to feel alert, attentive, make decisions, reason or solve problems. Lack of sleep slows you down, impairs your judgement and often causes confusion.

Sleep plays a crucial role in our overall health because it improves our memory, ability to learn and function effectively.  During the night, different phases of sleep help to consolidate new information learned during the day into memories.

If your sleep is disrupted, these sleep cycles are affected and this interferes with your short-term and long-term memory.
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2. Can cause serious health problems

A lack of sleep can lead to a number of health issues such as
• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Diabetes
• Heart attack
• Heart disease
• Obesity
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3. Lack of sleep can lead to depression

Insufficient sleep can also contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression. People who suffer from insomnia often suffer from depression and people with depression are most likely to have trouble sleeping – as you can you see insomnia and depression are linked and feed off each other.
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4. Sleep deprivation can cause accidents

Sleep loss can lead to accidents and is also a major public safety hazard. Poor quality sleep can also contribute to more injuries and errors at the workplace which then decreases productivity.

By improving your sleep habits, you will not only save your own life but possibly, the lives of others.
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5. Excessive sleepiness affects sex drive

Sleep loss and sleep disorders can affect libido and decrease interest in sex. Studies show that both men and women suffering from sleep deprivation also report problems with their sex lives.

Not getting enough sleep leads to depleted energy levels, sleepiness as well as tension and anxiety in relationships
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6. Lack of sleep can affect relationships

When you are well rested, you are more able to cope with stress of all kinds, but when you are feeling tired and run down, you are more likely to be grumpy and irritable.

This can lead to difficulties and arguments in relationships with partners and children.
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7. Sleep deprivation can compromise immunity

Our immune systems restore themselves and recover during sleep. Research shows that people who do not have enough sleep are far more likely to have lowered immunity than those who do.

This means you will be more susceptible to illness.
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8. Sleep is a weighty matter!

Studies show that people who have insufficient sleep are more inclined to put on weight and also find it more difficult to lose weight.

If you are packing on the pounds or trying to slim down, make sure that you pay attention to your sleep hygiene as well!
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How to get a better night’s rest

There are a few simple strategies that can help you achieve a better night’s sleep and also promote healthier sleeping patterns and good all round health!

1. Stick to a sleep schedule 

Babies and young children need regular sleep schedules and adults are no different in order to have better quality sleep. If you are going to bed at different times every night – 9.45pm, then 11.30 pm the following night and during the early hours of the morning over weekends, then you will experience sleep issues.

Try to go to bed at more or less the same time every day, including weekends and holidays. Establishing a regular schedule helps to train your body and brain to fall asleep and wake up at fixed times. 

If you struggle to fall asleep, don’t lie in bed – get up and do something relaxing until you start to feel drowsy again.
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2. Watch what you eat and drink before bedtime

Certain foods and beverages can affect your sleep patterns and leave you tossing and turning at night. Avoid eating fatty foods or heavy meals just before you have to turn in because they will disrupt your sleep cycle.

While you shouldn’t go to bed on a full stomach, you shouldn’t also go to sleep starving. Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine as these stimulants can also interfere with quality sleep.
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3. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise improves the quality of your sleep and promotes healthier sleep patterns. Exercising will help to strengthen and tone your body, relax and lift your mood and spirits.

Take care not to exercise too close to bedtime or you will be too energised to sleep.
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4. Create a comfortable bedroom

If you have been struggling to sleep, check that your bedroom is not the problem. The space that you sleep in should be comfortable and serene – this is your sanctuary where you can relax and unwind in.

Choose soothing colours for your bedroom wall colour and linen so that the space feels calm and soothing. Invest in a quality mattress and pillows so that you are guaranteed a good night’s rest.

Make sure that your bedroom is well ventilated and not too hot or too cold.
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5. Cultivate a bedtime ritual

A pre-bedtime ritual can also help to prepare you for a better night’s rest. This would largely depend on the individual,  but can include taking a long, relaxing bath, listening to music, reading a book or drinking a cup of chamomile tea.

Doing a relaxing activity before bedtime can ease you into a state of drowsiness and ensure a good night’s sleep.
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6. Natural remedies can also help!

Sleep problems and insomnia are not always easy to overcome and often a helping hand is needed to achieve a good night’s rest. Using natural remedies can promote better quality sleep and healthier sleep patterns without the side effects and risk of addiction associated with  conventional medications.

In the Feelgood Health range, we recommend the following:
Serenite Plus – a natural remedy to induce drowsiness and promote healthy sleep patterns.
Triple Complex Sleep Tonic – a selection of tissue salts which acts as a sleep tonic and encourages healthy sleep cycles.
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Products in this Article

Serenite Plus

Safe natural herbal solution for insomnia without risk of addiction
Retail Price: R138.00
Buy 1 Now

Triple Complex Sleep Tonic

Tissue salt to restore healthy sleep patterns and combat insomnia naturally
Retail Price: R138.00
Buy 1 Now

 

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