How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Us?

Increasingly strenuous work routines and lifestyles may have impacted your sleeping patterns for the worse. If you’ve been struggling to get a healthy sleep routine like we have, this article might provide some helpful information. Regardless of whether you’re a student or an adult, it’s important to prioritise your sleep and have a regular sleep cycle.  We asked Mahila Ch, an NLP practitioner certified from the American Board of NLP, to guide us on what sleep deprivation looks like, and the mechanics behind it. 

Benefits Of A Healthy Sleeping Routine

According to Mahila, having a proper routine at night – whether that’s some bedtime rituals or sleeping for a certain number of hours everyday – will work wonders for your body. Giving time to yourself and your health will automatically tune your body into relaxing at night, which becomes a powerful anchor for better sleep and less anxiety, especially since you’re in control of your actions. In fact, Mahila mentions that a healthy sleeping routine will also have wider social benefits. When you’re well rested, there is less chance of you being cranky, which will nurture more loving and caring relations with the people around you. 

Mahila also mentions that there is countless research on the benefits of getting a healthy sleep. It is known to be an agent for reduced weight, because being well-rested will make you less hungry and more prone to exercise. Together, this’ll help manage your weight. In addition, you are likely to have better concentration, stronger immunity, and easier recovery if you are fighting any illness.

How Much Sleep Should You Be Getting?

Mahila says that there is no golden rule for how much sleep you actually need. While some people prefer 4-6 hours of sleep, others will need their full 8 hours. The number of hours depends on several factors, such as age, work intensity, exercise, stress, or health recovery. Typically, teenagers would need around 8-10 hours given their active routines, while adults might need from 7-9 hours of sleep. For a more detailed chart, Sleep Foundation has a helpful map of sleep requirements according to age groups.

Ideally, Mahila says that you should listen to your body in order to know whether you’re sleeping enough. If you feel anxious when you wake up, or low in morale, it might be your body telling you to sleep more.

What Might Cause Sleep Deprivation?

This would vary from person to person. One factor that causes sleep deprivation is stress. Having too much on your mind can cause you to have a sleepless night. In addition, intake of caffeine or energy drinks at night is likely to make you more restless and energetic, which will make you lose sleep. If you’ve been working long hours, or sitting in front a screen for too long, the blue light from the screen will stimulate your brain, making it harder to sleep – this is especially a problem with the intensity of online work these days.

Mahila says that if your environment has changed recently, it might also affect sleep cycles. If you’re in a different place, or using a new mattress/ pillow, your quality of sleep might significantly differ. She says that personally, she must take her pillow everywhere because that helps her sleep.

How Does Sleep Affect Physical Health?

Mahila first distinguishes between a low quantity of sleep and low quality of sleep. Low quantity of sleep would be when you’re getting a lesser number of sleeping hours than usual. On the other hand, a low quality of sleep is when factors like an uncomfortable pillow, incorrect room temperature, or stress keep disturbing you while sleeping.

In both cases your physical health is impacted negatively. Mahila mentions that you might notice your appetite becoming erratic. You might wake up craving sugar or feeling very nauseous. Either way, it might cause you to gain or lose extra weight. In addition, lack of sleep might increase your caffeine intake which may lead to dehydration or restlessness, among other things.

How Does Sleep Affect Mental Health?

A person who is lacking sleep is more likely to be anxious and low in energy throughout the day. Taking caffeine might give an energy boost, but later result in an energy crash. Additionally, it’s possible that you find yourself struggling to concentrate and retain information, or you might have more frequent mood swings. All of these effects can result in poor mental health, according to Mahila.

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