We all know that a lack of sleep can make us feel tired, irritable and unable to focus properly during the day. What is less known however is the impact that sleeplessness can have on our physical and mental health. The fact is, not getting enough shuteye can affect more than just your day to day mood, temper and mental clarity - you could also be putting yourself at risk of a number of serious health problems. Here are five unexpected ways a shortage of sleep can harm your wellbeing.
1. It can affect your immune system
If you regularly catch colds or feel under the weather, it could be that sleep deprivation is to blame. Studies have shown that when you are exhausted, you are more likely to get sick. That’s because sleep helps to keep your immune system healthy, and not getting enough quality rest makes you less able to stave off illness and infection.
2. You could be at an increased risk of heart disease
As well as being more prone to catching common colds, a lack of slumber can put you at greater risk of more serious health conditions, such as heart disease. Ongoing sleep debt has been linked to increased heart rate and blood pressure, both of which can put extra strain on your heart. Not having enough snooze time also means you are more likely to be stressed, which can have a negative impact on heart health.
3. You might be putting on weight
Has your waistline expanded but you can’t seem to figure out why? You may need to turn your attention to your nighttime habits. The truth is, the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. This is because if you are sleep deprived you are less able to produce the hormones that make you feel full and you will have higher levels of hormones that increase your appetite.
4. It can impact on your mental wellbeing
Failure to get a good night’s rest can also have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing. We all feel irritable and moody after one restless night, but are you aware that sleep disorders like insomnia can increase your risk of developing anxiety and depression? Chronic sleeplessness can lead to long-term emotional instability and mood imbalances, which can in turn result in a vicious cycle that makes getting to sleep at night more difficult.
5. It can shorten your life expectancy
Perhaps the most worrying side effect of regular poor sleeping patterns is reduced life expectancy. Over time, sleep deprivation can seriously compromise your health and scientists have found that sleeping for less than six hours a night can actually increase your risk of dying prematurely.
With these facts in mind, making the effort to get a full night’s sleep is essential. If you are worried that your nighttime habits are having a detrimental impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing, you could contact your GP for advice. Meanwhile, if your current sleeping set up doesn’t meet your needs, you could check out our range of adjustable beds. These sleeping aids can make it easier to get a good night’s rest.