What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Lack of sleep affects you in more ways than just being grumpy the next day. Sleeping isn’t any different than eating, drinking, and breathing. It’s a basic human need and is vital for good health and well-being throughout your entire life. Sleep needs to be a priority for everyone. According to the CDC, adults ages 18-60 should get 7 or more hours of sleep per night. While we know this is difficult to get every night, it’s essential to get enough sleep as often as possible. So what happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Sleep deficiency is a broad concept that encompasses:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Not sleep well
- Not getting all the different types of sleep
- Sleeping at the wrong time of day
- Having a sleeping disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor-quality sleep
While missing one or two nights of sleep won’t have serious consequences, ongoing sleep deficiency can increase the risk of some chronic health problems. There are also short-term problems that arise from lack of sleep. Some of these issues include:
- Lack of alertness
- Impaired memory
- Slowed thinking
- Lack of energy
Not getting an adequate amount of sleep can also have a negative effect on others. When you are tired and driving, your reaction time is slowed and you are at a higher risk of microsleep. Microsleep normally lasts 15 seconds or less, and during an episode, people lose conscious control of their performance. This typically happens while performing monotonous tasks such as driving, which is why you shouldn’t drive if you haven’t had a lot of sleep.
What are some things you can do to help combat sleep deficiency? Having a nighttime routine can help your body and brain get ready to go to sleep, cutting down on screen time while you’re in bed, going to bed at the same time every day, and having a mattress that supports you during your sleep will help you fall asleep faster and get a deeper sleep. It’s also important that you keep a consistent wake time. Waking up at the same time every day will help you sleep better at night and makes it easier to wake up feeling rested.
Make time for yourself. Having downtime is important to keep you stress-free, relaxed, and motivated. Go on a walk, read a book, play a game with your family, watch a movie, or just listen to music. Whatever you want to do for you do it. When you sleep well you live well, so prioritize yourself and your sleep.