Sleep deprivation can lead to ‘significant’ health risks

Sleep deprivation: Doctor gives tips for a good night’s sleep

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Whether it’s a newborn baby that has you up at night, or ruminating on anything and everything, sleep deprivation could be costly. Psychiatrist Alex Dimitriu verified that even one night without enough rest can lead to slowed thinking, a lack of energy, and irritable mood the next day. Sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, reduced concentration and worsened memory.

If you are regularly getting less than seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, your health could be at risk.

Dimitriu confirmed that the effects of sleep deprivation “can be serious and far-reaching”.

“Sleep plays a significant role in almost every system of the body,” Dimitriu substantiated.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to mental health disorders, diabetes, obesity, pain, immunodeficiency, cardiovascular disease, and hormonal imbalances.

A lack of good sleep has “strong associations” with cardiovascular problems, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke.

As for diabetics, insufficient sleep is said to affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

“Given these diverse and important impacts of sleep deprivation, it comes as no surprise that studies have found insufficient sleep to be tied with a greater overall risk of death,” Dimitriu, from the Sleep Foundation, confirmed.

In most cases, practising good sleep hygiene behaviour can help to alleviate sleep deprivation.

Good sleep should be prioritised, so having a consistent sleep schedule can be helpful in training your body when to wake up and when to fall asleep.

While the demands of your personal or professional life can chip away at a good night’s sleep, psychiatrist Dimitriu emphasised the importance of boundaries.

“It’s helpful to set boundaries so that you preserve the full time you need for rest each night,” he noted.

In addition to setting boundaries with others, self control is also helpful.

By refraining from using electronic devices in the lead up to sleep, you’re more likely to fall asleep more quickly.

People are also recommended by the Sleep Foundation to avoid drinking alcohol at night, which can disrupt the sleep cycle.

Moreover, caffeine should be avoided as soon as noon, as the stimulant can “stick around in your system for several hours”.

As for naps, these too should be limited to the early afternoon – and for no more than 30 minutes.

If, after implementing consistently healthy sleep routines, you still can’t sleep, do book a doctor’s appointment.

The doctor might prescribe you sleeping pills, but these would only be a short-term solution.

People may benefit from abstaining from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and exercising for 30 minutes each day.

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