What could be the reasons for lack of sleep? Are you depressed at work, is there a stressful event happening at home, are you ill with some gastrointestinal or neurological sickness? Investigate and diagnose your condition as these could disturb your sleep. An odd day's lack of sleep is perfectly normal, but this becomes a serious risk to our health if one fails to get sound sleep every day.
One must get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but many adults get only 5 to 6 hours or even less daily. This may be because of sleep disorders or the hectic lifestyle one leads. Due to this, right under our noses, our body gets weak.
Our body needs rest and time to repair our body tissues. Otherwise, we are exploiting our health by burning the candle from both ends. Most people ignore the symptoms of lack of sleep. In our brain, the cerebral cortex stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of tasks that keep us ready for the next day.
- The most common symptom a person suffering from sleep deprivation faces is heavy eyelids and blurry vision. The eyes seem watery and they tend to hurt, as if something is pricking the eye.
- The person will yawn excessively throughout the day and will feel very tired. He may also experience lack of concentration and will have irritable mood swings.
- Skin gets affected, wrinkle lines start appearing with visible dark circles under the eyes.
- One of the most common signs is weight gain. Lack of sleep is closely connected to obesity.
- Some other symptoms are dizziness, headache, disturbance in the mind, or trouble while speaking or understanding, stress, confusion and severe anxiety.
- Less sleep also affects one's memory, logical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. It also makes a person unable to function properly and is also one of the most common symptom seen among students and teenagers.
- Another most common symptom is body ache, constipation and reduced reaction time. Sleep deprivation affects the body by causing extreme fatigue. As a result, some people experience hallucinations and nightmares.
- Sleep-deprived people double their chances of dying from a cardiovascular disease. They experience some of these serious health problems such as heart attack, diabetes, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.
- Depression is pretty common in people who don't sleep well. People suffering from lack of sleep often seem vague and distracted.
- Lack of sleep reduces mental alertness. Over time, it can even lead to insomnia.
- Drowsiness is also considered as a major factor in some of the biggest driving disasters and fatal motor accidents, encountered around the world.
- It is also said that sleep deprivation is very closely related to the increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Lack of sleep tends to stimulate one's appetite and makes him crave for foods that are high in fat and carbohydrate count.
- It could also go the other way round for some people; they might experience a dramatic loss in weight.
- Some other side effects are reduced sex drive, clumsiness and mood swings.
How to Sleep Better
- The average person should get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Following a strict bedtime routine can ensure that you get proper sleep at night.
- For starters, one must make sure that the room is well ventilated and the bed and pillow are comfortable and right for you.
- The room should be dark, quiet and away from any noise or disturbances.
- One should just try to relax and avoid thinking of stressful/depressing things, work or family demands, while in bed.
- Tossing and turning or forcing yourself to sleep will not help, instead try meditation, a silent prayer, or listen to soporific music or do a yoga pose to induce sleep.
- Sleep-deprived people should follow a regular morning exercise routine like a simple walk or cycling in the morning sunlight.
- Overeating at night, smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee, just before going to bed are some of the main reasons for lack of sleep, not feeling fresh but rather irritated and stressed in the morning.
- Try a bowl of oatmeal with warm milk or a banana with a handful of almonds, 2-3 hours before bedtime; they tend to promote a restful/relaxing sleep.
- Oil massage the bottom of your feet and on the temples with some lavender or chamomile oil to relieve insomnia.
- Try aromatherapy. To enjoy a restful and peaceful night's sleep, spray body mist of lavender, valerian, jasmine or passion flower on to your pillows and bed covers. This therapy will help your senses to calm down and you will fall asleep faster.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that this SleepHearty article is for informative purposes only. It is neither intended, nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.