The most well-known and common side effects from lack of sleep, are feeling grumpy and not functioning at your best. However, did you know that sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on physical health?
One in three Britons suffers from lack of sleep, though the cost of those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus. Regularly losing sleep heightens the risk of a serious medical condition such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it can shorten a person’s life expectancy.
The side effects of missing sleep can range from:
- Memory lapses or loss
- Impaired moral judgement
- Increased stress
- Decreased testosterone
- Risk of high blood pressure
- Risk of heart disease and stroke
- Impaired immune system
- Tremors and aches
- Risk of diabetes type 2
- Risk of obesity
Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel sufficiently rested. Few people are at their best with less than 7 hours, and few require more than 9 without an underlying health condition.
A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including conditions such as insomnia, which is difficulty getting to sleep, or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. However, in most cases it’s merely a matter of bad sleeping habits.
There are many ways to help improve a night’s sleep including:
Avoiding blue light – The problem this creates for sleep is that most commonly used devices such as laptops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones—emit blue light. This blue light stimulates your brain, interfering with your ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of your sleep once you do nod off.
Waking up at the same time every day can help to improve your mood and sleep quality. Consistency is key to a good night’s sleep, especially when it comes to waking up.
Avoiding caffeine (especially after lunch) means you can sleep more and infinitely improve the quality of the sleep. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production in the brain. Caffeine can take a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system. If you have a cup of coffee at 8 a.m. you will still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8 p.m. anything you drink after noon will still be near 50% strength at bedtime.
Finally it is important to learn how much sleep you need. The most common problem is that most people sleep much less than they really need which causes them to underperform because they believe they are getting enough.
Here at The New Malden Diagnostic Centre we encourage a healthy lifestyle, and early diagnosis of all medical issues, to make sure the correct treatment and solution are identified. For the best treatment and advice please do not hesitate to get in touch, by calling 020 8942 6555 or visiting our website.