What are the Consequences of Poor Sleep?
- by Stephen Touhey
Did you know that most people spend over 30% of their lives sleeping? Sleep is the time of day that your body and mind get to rest and replenish. Without it, you can’t survive.
If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, then it’s probably pretty obvious that cognitive function declines fast when you go without sleep. What you might not know is that it affects your physical body and immune system too.
We sleep in cycles and each cycle has 4 stages. Every night the average person goes through 4-6 cycles during their 7-9 hours of sleep and each stage has its own characteristics.
Stage 1 is when your body and mind start to wind down. You might twitch a little and you just lost consciousness as you drifted off. In stage 2 you’ll continue to relax and slow your body more. Your brain waves are mostly slow, but you’ll experience short bursts of brain activity.
Stages 3 and 4 are your deep restorative stages. Stage 3 is the part that helps you feel alert the next and is when your body is most relaxed. Stage 4 is REM sleep, or the Rapid Eye Movement stage.
During REM, your eyes dart back and forth behind your closed eyelids and your body may be paralyzed except for your breathing. This is when the most dreams happen.
It’s obvious that sleep is important, but what are the consequences of poor sleep?
Your brain is healing and recharging while you sleep, so if you aren’t sleeping well then you aren’t thinking well. In an APA survey, many people reported that their stress increases when they get less quality sleep.
When your brain isn’t functioning properly, you’re more likely to be irritable and emotional. You also wouldn't be functioning at peak performance, so you’d be more at risk of making mistakes. It puts you at a higher risk for anxiety and depression too.
All of these factors increase stress and more stress means a weaker immune system, which then leaves you more susceptible to infection and disease.
Stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle, known as deep sleep, is when your brain cleans and restores itself. This is when memory and learning abilities are recharged.
According to Healthline, some consequences from lack of sleep are poor memory, impaired motor function, trouble thinking, and fatigue. You definitely aren’t able to be the best version of yourself when you aren’t getting enough sleep.
Decline In Physical Health
One of the huge consequences of poor sleep is a weakened immune system, whose job is to protect your body from invaders like fungi, bacteria, and viruses. It also protects you from disease.
When you have weak immunity, your body isn’t able to keep up with the healing demand, leaving you feeling unwell, tired, and more susceptible to infection and disease. According to Healthline, it even increases your risk of early death.
What can you do?
If you’re struggling to get to dream land, the good news is there are plenty of things you can try. Here are a few ways to get quality sleep and to fall asleep faster.
Keep a regular sleep schedule - It helps regulate your natural sleep rhythms. You’ll find it easier to fall asleep and sleep more soundly.
Try a guided meditation before bed- This helps you relax your body, while keeping your mind focused. It’s a good choice for those who struggle to stop thinking.
Wear a BioActivate deep sleep patch - This is a bio-frequency patch that uses natural energy technology based on quantum physics to lull you to sleep.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine close to bedtime - Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and alcohol disturbs sleep cycles.
Create a clean and tranquil sanctuary in your bedroom- Setting a serene atmosphere will help you feel peaceful and safe to drift off to sleep.