Many of us are familiar with some effects of poor sleep, such as feeling grumpy and not working at your best. However, not getting enough sleep can also have a wide range of less known consequences on your physical and mental health. Studies have linked poor slumber with all kinds of health problems, from weight gain to a weaker immune system.
Stress, heavy usage of smartphones and other technology with screens and overwork are all common contributors to poor sleep. Understanding the consequences of poor sleep is essential as we are currently in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, with one in three people reporting they suffer from poor sleep.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Most of us need 8 hours of sleep – some more, some less. You should find out how much sleep you need and ensure you get it. If you wake up tired and feel tired throughout the day, it’s more than likely that you’re not getting enough sleep. A variety of factors can result in poor sleep, including health conditions like chronic pain and sleep apnoea. But in most cases, it’s simply a matter of having bad sleeping habits.
Impacts of Poor Sleep
Your concentration, problem solving skills and creativity are all impacted by poor sleep. It can also affect your health in other ways, including:
- Memory issues – Sleep plays a crucial role in forming connections that help you process and remember new information. A lack of sleep can impact both short and long term memory.
- Mood changes – Poor sleep can make you moody, emotional and quick-tempered. Over time, it can contribute or lead to anxiety or depression.
- Weak immune system – Your immunity to viruses like the common cold and flu is reduced when you don’t sleep enough, meaning you’re likely to get sick more often.
- Risk of diabetes – A lack of sleep affects how your body releases insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone. People who suffer from poor sleep tend to have higher blood sugar levels.
- Risk of heart disease – Poor sleep can lead to increased blood pressure and is associated with inflammation, both of which contribute to a higher risk of heart disease.
- Weight gain – You’re more likely to overeat if you don’t get enough sleep as it disrupts the chemicals that signal to your brain that you are full.
Without enough sleep, you have more trouble thinking and concentrating. This puts you at greater risk for car accidents and other injuries. Poor sleep is also correlated with other health conditions in the long term like alzheimer’s.
Need to Talk to Someone?
A lack of sleep can occasionally be tied to issues such as anxiety or depression and it may be helpful to discuss the issue with a psychologist. At EDUCARE we can help children, teens and adults in addressing this issue related to technology addiction. Contact us for more information about our adult and child psychologist services.