Sleep is crucial for optimal health. In fact, sleep is just as important in preventing certain issues as are diet and exercise. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours each night helps you feel better, think better, and make better choices.
But what happens when you simply can’t get the sleep you need? Below, we dive into the effects of sleep deprivation as well as some tips for getting through those days when you’re lacking adequate rest.
The Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation
Whether it’s a baby keeping you awake all night, a work deadline pushing back bedtime, or insomnia disrupting your sleep cycles, the side effects of living on little sleep are severe. Some of the consequences of repeated sleep loss include:
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Things happen that may cause you to lose sleep. While we don’t recommend skipping sleep on a regular basis if you can help it, here are some tips for making it through the day after a sleepless night.
1. Skip The Sugar
Sleep deprivation disrupts the hormone in your body that tells your brain you’re full. This leads to increased cravings — especially of sugar —the following day. Giving into that craving causes even more fatigue.
2. Get Some Sun
Research has found that getting outside to take in some bright, natural light immediately upon waking has exhaustion-fighting benefits. These include boosting your alertness, raising your body temperature, and resetting your circadian rhythms.
3. Watch the Caffeine
Reaching for cup after cup of coffee on a sleep-deprived day is tempting, but overdoing it on caffeine doesn’t help your situation. While one or two cups of coffee in the morning is beneficial, loading up on it all day can cause you to crash later — and keep you from falling asleep when your head finally hits the pillow.
4. Indulge In A Cat Nap
It’s true that long naps usually leave you more fatigued than you were before you decided to get some mid-day sleep. However, short naps (think 25 minutes) have been found by experts to help people feel refreshed and more energized the rest of the day.
5. Work Out And Drink Water
The last thing you want to do when you’re tired is exercise. But studies have found that low-intensity workouts decrease fatigue by 65 percent. And don’t forget the water. Dehydration in and of itself leads to fatigue, so reach for water instead of coffee when that late afternoon sleepiness hits.
For more tips on getting through a sleep-deprived day and other ways to stay healthy, reach out to Amarillo fitness expert Ralph Roberts.
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