We all know that sleep is important, and I’m sure you have experienced what it feels like when you don’t get enough sleep. (Especially those new Moms and Dads out there!) Sometimes sleep is shorted by choice, while other times sleep duration and quality is affected by pain or injury. While we know that we need sleep to function in our everyday lives, why do phrases such as, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” or “sleep is for the weak,” get used so often? The tired, busy working professional mentality is something that is glorified and worn as a badge of honor. But should it be?
Let’s dig a little deeper and unpack what sleep deprivation can do to your body.
1. Slow as molasses.
When you shave time off of your nightly sleep, your brain will function more slowly the next day. This can lead to slower processing time, difficulty focusing on tasks, and slower reaction time. Not only is your work affected, but your decreased focus and reaction time can lead to accidents or dangerous driving on the road.
2. Sick of being sick.
It is shown that those who have less sleep tend to get sicker, more often. This is especially true when it comes to the common cold as decreased sleep leads to a weakened immune system. Extra zzz’s over time will help give your immune system the boost it needs.
3. Snack time.
Lack of sleep can have an affect on your weight. When you’re functioning with less sleep, your body has more trouble regulating your hunger levels and you tend to feel more hungry, more often throughout the day. This can lead to overeating or indulging in snacks that pack in extra calories. Less sleep also automatically means more hours awake. The more hours you are awake, the greater opportunity there is more mindless snacking.
4. Heart Health
Low sleep = higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Low amounts of sleep over time can also increase your resting blood pressure level and could lead to issues down the road.
With everything going on in our lives, it can be challenging to make sleep a priority. After all, it is one of the first things people will forego when the schedule fills up. But as you can see, sleep deprivation can have short and long term effects that are unpleasant and unhealthy. What is a good goal to strive for? If you are a middle-aged to older adult, try hitting 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
You may be thinking, what if my sleep patterns and schedule is not by choice? Sleep quality can definitely be affected by other outside factors such as anxiety or pain. Physical therapy is here to help. Contact us here to schedule a Physical Therapy evaluation in the heart of downtown Milwaukee to address your specific concerns that are affecting your sleep.