We all know the feeling of waking up in the morning without having enough sleep. Snoozing the alarm, the pure hell of dragging yourself out of bed and the feelings of fatigue, sluggishness and sleepiness that stay with you through the day. You’re dozing off on your commute to work, during meetings and at your desk- it’s no fun whatsoever. But tiredness is far more of an issue than just feeling unpleasant, here are some of the reason you need to be getting more Zs.
The Dangers of Lack of Sleep- Short Term and Long Term
When you’re tired after a bad night’s sleep you’re likely to be moody and emotional- you’re even likely to feel hungrier because of the way your hunger hormones are affected. This is unpleasant enough, but in the long term, it can cause some serious issues. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers and mental health issues have all been linked to chronic tiredness. A lack of sleep is even connected to accidental death due to exhaustion and lack of concentration. This could be a result of crashing a car, being injured by machines or power tools, hot water, chemicals or other dangerous equipment. You put your health and your safety at serious risk when you don’t get enough sleep, especially so if you work a dangerous job.
Understanding The Types and Stages of Sleep
There’s much more that goes into sleep it than it simply being a case of your brain switching off for the night. Instead, your brain actually cycles through different sleep stages, each of which has a different effect on the body and mind. The types of sleep fall into ‘light sleep’ which is mainly responsible for processing and ordering memories as well as dealing with emotion. It is an important sleep stage and referred to as ‘light’ just based on how easy it is to wake you up in this state. Deep sleep is mainly responsible for repairing the body, your heart rate drops and secretes growth hormone. It is where you rebuild your body’s cells, and the strengthen the immune system. If you wake up feeling very refreshed, chances are you spent a long time at this stage. Finally, there’s REM or ‘rapid eye movement’ sleep. This is where your brain is most active, your heart rate increases and your eyes dart from side to side much like they would if you were awake and alert. REM sleep is all about the mind and cognition and is the stage of sleep where you will generate vivid dreams that are story-like in quality. Most REM sleep is accrued towards the end of the night and into the morning, which is why it’s important not to be cutting off that extra hour of sleep.
Improve Your Comfort With The Right Mattress
We spend a lot of our time as humans lying down to sleep, so if you’re sleeping on an uncomfortable bed, it can cause all kinds of problems. Neck pain, back, and shoulder pain and hip issues can result from a mattress that’s not up to scratch. Plus if you spend the night tossing, and turning you’re more likely to wake up and disrupt the sleep cycles talked about above. Spend some time finding the mattress that’s right for you, your preferences and even your weight will depict how firm you need to go. Purchase a non toxic mattress; toxins can actually cause sleep disorders and health issues which are coming to light through recent research.
Why You’re Not Sleeping Well
If you’re not dozing off or getting quality sleep, there are a number of reasons as to why this could be- whether it’s a new issue or an ongoing occurrence. You could have an undiagnosed health condition and be diabetic, anaemic or coeliac without knowing which will all cause tiredness issues. It could be a result of thyroid problem, immune issues, you could even be in the early stages of pregnancy. Your diet could be to blame, if you’re filling up on low nutritional foods that are high in calories and saturated fat you won’t be providing your body with a good source of energy. It could be a result of a mental health issue, depression and anxiety can both interfere with sleep. For this reason, you need to discuss your ongoing feelings of tiredness with your doctor so they can check that nothing is out of the ordinary, and if it is you can get the right treatment. In many cases, making lifestyle changes is all that’s needed.