Science has some serious words for you about sleep.. but first, a little context from the sleep doctors:
Most of us are simple minded in our concept of sleep. The idea that lack of sleep simply leads to yet another groggy day and a sleepy stumble through the haze of our daily routines. However, according to a recent Harvard University study, the affects of lack of sleep can be quite deadly. Lack of sleep increases your risk of numerous health issues, as well as increasing the chance of accidents.
In the Whitehall II Study, British researchers examined how lack of sleep affects mortality due to cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular reasons. As expected, lack of sleep nearly doubled the risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease. Let’s take a closer look at some of the risks.
Potential Health Risks Associated with Poor Sleep
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Weakened Immune System
- Weight Gain
Lack of Sleep May Also Increase Your Risk of Death…by Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in six crashes with a fatality was caused by a drowsy driver. The NHTSA also states that driving while tired is the cause of 100,000 crashes serious enough to generate a police report each year. These result in over 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
And while you may think that lack of sleep only affects you, in several cases, it has impacted whole communities. Recent tragedies that were the result of lack of sleep include the Three Mile Island disaster, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown where countless lives were lost, not to mention the environmental impact.
While statistics regarding fatigue-related accidents at work vary, you are much more likely to be involved in an accident when you are tired because working tired is like working drunk. This is due to the decrease in your body’s ability to think and process information as quickly, as well as make good decisions.
How Do You Know If You’re Getting Enough Sleep?
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if you’re getting good rest. You may feel okay, but your body is screaming to tell you otherwise. Here’s are some symptoms to recognize you’re suffering from lack of sleep:
- Fatigue (I know…no brainer, right?)
- Persistent yawning
- Erratic changes in mood
- Irritability (Unless it’s warranted!)
- Trouble learning new tasks or concepts
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating or “brain fog”
- Poor dexterity or clumsiness
- Decreased sex drive
- Increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings
And NOW the top 5 things that Science says is killing you in your sleep:
- You have no real sleeping schedule.
- You work life is keeping you awake.
- You spend too much time on social media & smartphones.
- It’s what you’re sleeping in…or on.
- You’re being way too socially-active.
The Good News – You Can Make A Difference…Tonight!
Not only will getting more sleep help reduce your risks of potentially life-ending consequences, you’ll also feel refreshed and better ready to tackle your day. And if you’ve noticed people avoiding you, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that people like being around you more…and you around them. Here are some easy ways to give yourself more time for that all important shut-eye.
Take a good hard look at your schedule.
What has to be done today. What can wait. Set limits. Don’t try to do so much that you can’t get to bed at a decent hour. When you really examine what’s important, you’ll find that you’re probably spending too much time wasting time.
Don’t work too much.
Who is really benefiting from this? Getting ahead in the corporate world is great but not at the expense of your health. It’s okay to say ‘NO’ sometimes. If possible, delegate work to others, and if you can’t do that, work on prioritizing tasks. You’ll probably find that you are wasting more time than you think.
Limit phone and tablet use.
This is a huge one for most of us, especially around bedtime. According to comScore’s 2017 Cross Platform Future in Focus report, the average American adult spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone – every day. That’s about 86 hours a month. That’s time you could be spending being more productive, allowing you even more time for rest. So set limits to your usage. There’s an app for that. Check out this Inc.com report to learn more. Don’t worry, you can always change your settings if it’s truly important.
Change your sleep gear, change your life.
When was the last time you replaced your mattress? How about your pillow? Check of the Top 5 mattresses, pillows, sheet sets, snore reducing devices and natural sleep aids on Amazon. Making one or more changes may just be the hack you need for better sleep. And with quick, home delivery, you could be sleeping better tonight!
Stop being a social butterfly.
If your social life is keeping you up until all hours, try to limit your outings to once or twice a week. While being social is an important part of life, you’ll probably find that you enjoy being out more when you do it less. Plus, you’ll feel better the next day.
Set a bedtime.
I know, it sounds like you’re a child again, but there’s a reason why your parents told you to go to bed. They knew that your body needed rest in order to function properly. So set a time when everything shuts off…TV, phone and your mind.
There are many ways of getting better sleep, so try one or more to see what works best for you. Most importantly, don’t wait to make a change. You could be getting better sleep tonight.
Start Sleeping Your Way to Better Health
There are enough risks in life, and there is no reason to increase the risks to your health, especially when it comes to sleeping. Finding a healthy sleep/wake cycle isn’t always easy, but you shouldn’t take chances. We’re talking about your life. So stick around. Get some sleep. Because better sleep = better life.