Sleep Deprivation: Why Lack Of Sleep Is Bad For Your Health

Eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly and effectively managing stress are all baked into a healthy lifestyle. There is one ingredient, though, that is as important as any of these activities but is missing from countless daily routines: getting quality sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep.

Lack of proper sleep can lead to far more serious health problems than constantly feeling tired. Sleep is often thought of as the way we recharge. And it does do that by helping our brain prepare for the next day and reduce stress. When properly rested, the mind is alert and more capable of learning and performing daily activities, while the body has more energy and stamina needed to win the day.

But consistent, adequate sleep also helps recharge our immune system—keeping it strong—which in turn can prevent numerous health problems both in the near term and over the long haul.

Woman Having A Good Night's Rest To Avoid Sleep Deprivation In San Antonio, TX

The Dangers & Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Obviously being sleepy can make us more prone to accidents of all kinds that can lead to serious, perhaps even fatal injuries (e.g., falling asleep at the wheel). However, research increasingly shows that being deprived of sleep can contribute to a greater risk of a host of other conditions, such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Common Infections

Sleep helps repair heart tissue and blood vessels to help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps regulate how your body reacts to insulin, which is tied to diabetes risk. An immune system that is sleep deprived is also less capable of fighting off viruses like colds, the flu and even COVID-19. Moreover, healthy sleep has been shown to improve the effectiveness of vaccines for a wide range of viruses.

Getting enough sleep is even more important for kids. It plays an essential role in growth, as many key hormones are released during sleep that are crucial to normal childhood development.

5 Tips To Sleep Better

The amount of sleep we need changes over the course of our lifetimes and is not necessarily the same for everyone. However, like many other facets of good health, the Sleep Foundation says good sleep must become a habit or routine (even for adults).

While you may not be able to control some factors that interfere with your sleep, you can start with these 5 simple tips from The Emergency Center:

1. It may be tempting to organize sleep around our daily schedule, but a cornerstone of healthy sleep is going to sleep and waking up at about the same time every day. Consistently “sleeping in” on weekends can be disruptive to your body’s rhythm.

2. Avoid the blue light of screens as much as possible in the hour before going to bed.

3. Cut out the caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine and large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime.

4. Take the opportunity to de-stress and relax before bedtime so that you can fall asleep more easily. This may mean something as simple as meditating or taking a warm shower or bath.

5. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool.

People living busy lives may find it hard to start and keep these habits, especially since the benefits of good sleep are typically paid out over time. But over time, regular sleep will lead to more productive waking hours, not less.

Enjoy life. We’ll be here for the bumps along the way.

 

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The Emergency Center

San Antonio
11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

Phone: 210-485-3644