Are you waking up in the morning groggy and not able to concentrate? Need more and more coffee to wake up and lack energy? These are just some of the many consequeces for not getting a sufficient amount of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, most of us do not get that quantity of sleep. We average 6 hours at best. There are an estimated 40 percent of Americans that say they “never or rarely” get good nights of sleep on weeknights and 60% report sleep problems every or almost every night of the week.
There are serious consequences to this lack of sleep over a period of time. Studies have shown blood samples taken after one week of getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night showed changes to 700 genes. Researchers still do not understand the role of each of these genes has and what it means but know that at least some affect the inflammatory system, immune system and stress responses which can in turn cause serious health problems (such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes). Increased risks of the following health issues should be taken particularly seriously: stroke, weight gain, diabetes, memory loss, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and death.
The changes in your body due to lack of sleep you might not even notice such as appetite changes, emotional, confusion, and lack of coordination can even be affected. So, if you’re wondering why you can not remember where you put your keys and start crying over this you might want to evaluate your quantity (and quality) of sleep you have been getting.
Researchers have suggested some helpful techniques to help with sleeping habits:
1) Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up time schedule (even on weekends). If you need to make up for some lost sleep take a 10 to 15 minute nap just to regenerate yourself.
2) Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Keep the noise down and room cool. Make sure your bed is comfortable and no television, laptop or smartphone an hour before bed.
3) Eat right and get regular exercise. Cut down on your caffeine intake, smoking and stay away from heavy foods within 2 hours of bed.
4) Get anxiety and stress in check. Manage your thoughts, do deep breathing exercises and/or visualize a peaceful, restful place.
If you’re struggling with sleeping issues, it might be necessary to visit your health care provider. There are medications that can help you to start sleeping better, for better health.