What Happens When You Get Too Little Sleep?

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What would happen if a popular quarterback only got three hours of sleep the night before the Big Game? What if he only slept for four hours every night for a week before the Big Game? What if it had been months since he’d gotten a good night’s rest? One thing’s for sure, there would be a lot of angry football fans.

You’ve had it drilled into your head since you were a child—getting the proper amount of sleep each night is crucial for your health. Of course, the proper amount of sleep can vary from person to person. In the case of our football friend, his training schedule is so rigorous and his football practices so intense that he likely needs more sleep than the average person to be able to function properly.

Sleep deprivation has some scary side effects that can affect your overall health and your ability to perform normal daily functions like driving, operating heavy machinery, or even keeping track of your responsibilities. A lack of sleep can cause slow reaction times, inhibiting your ability to make fast-paced decisions, which can be highly dangerous, and not to mention, can make you look bad at work. If you seem to be less coordinated than normal, you can blame that on the sleep deprivation as well.

A lack of sleep can cause many other symptoms. If you seem to be crying at the drop of a hat lately, or seem to catch every cold that floats around your office, you might need to change up your sleeping habits. Struggling to concentrate, eating more than normal, and falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow are all signs that you need more sleep.

The signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation mentioned above are scary, and over time, can lead to serious consequences. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to weight gain, premature skin aging, memory loss, decreased libido, heart disease, brain damage, and even death.

Many different factors can affect the amount and quality of sleep you get every night. Sinus issues and allergies can make it difficult to feel properly rested when your alarm clock sounds. Don’t let allergies overrun your life. Over-the-counter medications may ease your symptoms temporarily, but we offer solutions that can help you experience long-term relief. Snoring and sleep apnea are both big contributors to a restless night as well. If your partner has been complaining about your loud snores and you seem to consistently be exhausted no matter how much sleep you got, talk to us about setting up a sleep study.

Need a few tips to help you establish a habit of getting a good night’s rest each night? Try to maintain consistency in your schedule. Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Try to avoid screen-time (phones, tablets, TV, etc.) for an hour before you go to sleep. Do something relaxing before bed to help you transition into a restful sleep (read a book, take a warm bath, take up nighttime yoga, etc.). Make sure your bedroom is set up with optimal sleep conditions (find your ideal sleeping temperature, get a pillow that’s designed specifically for your sleeping position, etc.). And finally, avoid drinking that nightcap before hitting the hay as it can disrupt your sleep cycles, leading to a poor night’s rest.

Being mindful of your sleeping habits can help you make the changes necessary to ensure that you get the proper amount of quality sleep needed every night. And as for your favorite football friend—let’s just hope that your team’s starting lineup gets plenty of rest before heading to the stadium for the Big Game!

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