If you’re like most people, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. You may think you can make up for that lack of sleep by drinking coffee or energy drinks, but is that really the case? In this article, we’ll look at what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep and whether or not it’s possible to make up for lost hours of sleep. Keep reading to find out more!
Why do we lack sleep?
Various factors can combine to cause sleep deprivation, which can come on suddenly or build up over time.
Work and school hours:
Work or school obligations can reduce the time available for sleep or interfere with a healthy sleep schedule. For example, night shift workers, first responders, teenagers with early school hours. People who have to get up early or travel for work, and people who work long hours or have multiple jobs are more likely to be sleep deprived.
Consumption of stimulants:
Caffeine and other stimulants can temporarily increase alertness, but their effects can make it harder to sleep at night.
Lack of sleep is associated with a number of health conditions that can affect sleep. These include chronic pain, frequent urination or an overactive bladder, anxiety and depression, restless leg syndrome, obesity and certain cancers.
Circadian rhythm disorders:
A biological process regulates sleep and wakefulness as part of the body’s 24-hour circadian rhythm. Disorders that disrupt the circadian rhythm can disrupt the daily sleep schedule and make it more difficult to get enough sleep. Many factors, including age, genetics, and general health, can contribute to long-term circadian rhythm disorders.
What happens to our body when we lack sleep?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who sleep less than seven hours are at increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body goes through many changes. For example, our metabolism slows down, which can lead to weight gain. We also have trouble regulating our emotions, and we can become irritable or depressed. In addition, our immune system is weakened, which makes us more susceptible to disease. Lack of sleep can even affect our appearance, giving us dark circles under our eyes and making our skin look dull. In summary, lack of sleep has a huge impact on our physical and overall health.
What about brain function?
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to reduced alertness, reduced ability to concentrate, memory problems and an increased risk of accidents. In fact, lack of sleep has been shown to have a similar effect on the brain as drunkenness. Our cognitive performance is also affected, and we may have difficulty making decisions or performing well.
Is it possible to make up for our lost hours of sleep?
Most people have experienced the effects of lack of sleep at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a late night out or an early morning shift, being deprived of a good night’s sleep can leave us feeling groggy and unable to concentrate. But is it possible to make up for lost sleep? According to experts, the answer is yes, but only to a certain extent. Our body needs time to recover from fatigue due to lack of sleep, and this process can take several days. In other words, we can make up for lost hours of sleep, but it will take some time to feel fully rested again.
So how do you make up for lost hours of sleep?
One solution is to take a nap during the day. Even a 20-minute nap can help improve alertness and cognitive performance. Another option is to go to bed earlier for a few nights until you have caught up on your sleep deficit. Finally, be sure to create an environment conducive to sleep by eliminating sources of noise and light and maintaining a cool room temperature.
In the case of a medical condition or circadian rhythm imbalance:
Address underlying issues:
Treating any underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea, anxiety, or chronic pain, can help reduce the underlying cause of lack of sleep.
Some people benefit from taking over-the-counter or prescription medications to improve their sleep. However, it is important to discuss with a doctor or sleep specialist whether using a sleeping pill is safe and appropriate.
Improve sleep hygiene:
Sleep hygiene is about creating a bedroom environment and daily habits that promote regular, continuous sleep. Below are some measures that can support sleep hygiene:
- Have a consistent sleep schedule, including set bedtimes and wake times each day.
- Limit exposure to screens like phones, TVs, or tablets before bed.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and heavy meals in the evening.
- Limit both the length and number of your daily naps.
- Try to engage in physical activity daily.
- Create a relaxation routine with relaxing activities like reading or listening to soft music before bedtime.
- Make the bedroom as quiet and dark as possible.