Sleeping is a crucial part of our overall body’s health. Without sleep, our brain doesn’t get the necessary rest to be able to function properly. The entire body takes advantage of sleep and periods of rest – without it, or without good quality sleep, the body will start to experience damage to many of its systems. Over time this can contribute to risk of chronic disease and health problems, but the most immediate consequences of lack of sleep is the effect it has on your mind and function ability the next day.
- It’s harder to concentrate on tasks
- Your brain struggles to remember things clearly
- You can be moody and irritable
- Your judgement may be compromised
- You’re more likely to make irrational decisions or have a difficult time making decisions
- You may be more emotional than usual
- Your hand-eye coordination can be affected
Chronic insomnia or lack of sleep has shown to have the following effects on the body:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease and hypertension
- Depressions, anxiety, and other mood disorders
- Poor immune function
Tips for getting a good night’s rest
- Set a schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before getting into bed
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed
- Relax before bed – try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine
- Create a room for sleep – avoid bright lights and loud sounds, and keep the room at a comfortable temperature
- Don’t lie in bed awake – if you are struggling to fall asleep, do an activity that will aid in falling asleep, like reading or listening to music.
- See a doctor if you have a problem sleeping or you feel unusually tired during the day. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.
Different Stages of Sleep
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM) – your eyes will dart from side to side rapidly and brain activity will speed up, closer to the amount that occurs when you’re awake. This is where most of your dreaming happens.
Non-REM sleep – this is when you’re falling asleep. Your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movement start to slow down and your muscles relax – it is still easy to be woken up during this stage of sleep.
- Stage 2 – Non- REM sleep – your heart rate will drop and your body temperature will also fall. Eye movement stops completely and brain activity slows down.
- Stages 3 & 4 – Non-REM sleep – this is the deep sleep stage, this sleep is heavy and restorative, and it is most difficult to be woken up during this stage.