The Truth About Sleep Deprivation
If you often feel tired after a full night’s sleep, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% percent of Americans say that for at least one day in a week, insufficient sleep interfered with daily activities. The quality of sleep is what’s important here, not necessarily the quantity. Many Americans say they sleep more than seven hours a night and still do not wake up feeling refreshed.
What Does It Mean to Be Sleep Deprived?
Sleep deprivation is defined as not getting enough sleep for your body to function properly. Sleep deprivation can be acute, caused by insufficient sleep from just one night, or it can be chronic, building up over time. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night, while those 65 and older need 7-8 hours.
Sleep deprivation is more than just an inconvenience and can be more harmful than simply making you tired the next day. It can interfere with daily work performance, impair driving ability, and can lead to a number of negative health effects including:
- Weight gain. Sleep deprivation affects the hormones that regulate hunger and the feeling of satiety. The result can be the temptation to eat more often.
- Weakened immune system. Losing sleep can reduce the body’s ability to fight off colds and other illnesses.
- Moodiness. If you don’t sleep well, you may feel moody on a day-to-day basis while also increasing the likelihood for developing anxiety and/or depression.
- Diabetes. Too little sleep affects the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, and can eventually contribute to type-2 diabetes.
- Low sex drive. Being “too tired” for sex isn’t the only factor here. Sleep deprivation may lower testosterone, which can result in lower sex drive.
- High blood pressure and heart disease. Insufficient sleep may lead to high blood pressure, which can also lead to heart disease.
- Accelerated aging. Research has shown that poor sleepers, particularly those that sleep for fewer than five hours a night, show signs of aging faster than people who get sufficient sleep.
Sleep is also a necessity for the healing process and for hormone regulation.
Tips for Better Sleep
There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. They include:
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Have a bedtime ritual that is relaxing, and make sure it avoids electronics.
- Set up your bedroom for sleep success. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. You may want to use a fan or white noise machine to block out any other sounds. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee, but avoid caffeinated drinks later in the day.
- Get plenty of exercise. Including enough physical activity in your routine is important, but exercise too close to bed time might keep you up.
When Should You Seek Professional Help?
We all have trouble sleeping every now and then, but if you’re fatigued, have trouble concentrating, struggle with anxiety or depression, or have any of the symptoms mentioned above, you may need some additional help.
At Renew Youth, we can provide treatment for sleep deprivation in a number of ways. Your particular plan will vary based upon your specific needs, but may include:
Supplements. You may need to supplement melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for telling your body when to sleep and when to wake. Nutrients such as magnesium can also be helpful.
Hormone regulation. Other hormones also impact sleep. Cortisol, for instance, is known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol levels should be higher in the morning and decline by bedtime. If this hormone is not properly regulated, it can lead to disturbances in sleep. Imbalances in hormones such as Testosterone, Progesterone, and Thyroid can also disrupt sleep.
At Renew Youth, we are here to help you. Schedule a free consultation and we will work with you to find a solution to your sleep challenges.