Although sleep is a necessity of life, most individuals do not get adequate amounts of snooze time. Not getting enough sleep has both short-term and long-term consequences. For example, inadequate amounts of sleep can impair your judgment; affect your mood, and can put you at an increased risk of contracting colds. The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.
The relationship between sleep and certain health conditions:
- Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep per night can lead to impaired glucose tolerance which is a precursor to developing diabetes.
- Long term sleep deprivation causes an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system which can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
- Insufficient sleep leaves you vulnerable to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system.
- Hormonal imbalances as a result of sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. The proposed mechanism of action is that it lowers levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety.
- The body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure.
Tips for getting adequate sleep:
- Create a dark, quiet and relaxed sleeping space.
- Set a routine, and ensure that you go to bed and rise around the same time each day.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom is free of distractions such as the TV.
- Engage in regular physical activity, which can promote better sleep. However, do not exercise too close to bedtime.
- Nap smartly as this can interfere with night-time sleep. If you must nap, try to nap earlier in the day, and limit naps to 30 minutes.