How you sleep and whether or not you have healthy sleeping habits can make or break your body and mind.
If your health is suffering, it may be that your sleep habits are to blame. The amount and quality of sleep that you get each night can have a profound impact on a number of health issues. And the long-term effects of sleep deprivation can leave you feeling more than just a little groggy.
Here are five ways that your bad sleep habits may be affecting your physical and mental health and what you can do about it.
Psst! Don’t forget to grab my free Sleep Yoga Guide at the bottom of this post.
1. Immune Function
The function of the body’s immune system will suffer greatly if you are not getting enough sleep. Without an immune system that’s firing on all cylinders, you’re more at risk of developing mild illnesses like the common cold to more severe chronic diseases. Your body will also find it more difficult to fight off illnesses quickly if your immune system is suppressed.
2. Increased Body Weight
Most people don’t associate healthy sleeping habits (or not so healthy habits) with weight loss, but they’re directly related.
Individuals who don’t get enough sleep are also at risk of becoming overweight or obese. The amount of sleep you get impacts the levels of two hormones associated with your appetite. Without sufficient sleep, your brain increases the hormone gherkin, an appetite stimulant. Not getting enough sleep will also make you too tired to exercise, another risk factor of gaining too much weight.
3. Risks to Cardiovascular System
Individuals who suffer from sleep disruptions also may experience a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues. This includes the body’s ability to keep inflammation levels in check. Some research has shown an increased risk of heart disease and stroke in those who suffer from insomnia. You also need to be intentional about getting enough sleep in order to promote the body’s ability to repair the blood vessels and the heart.
4. Central Nervous System
A lack of sleep impacts the function of the central nervous system, the primary avenue that your body uses to relay information. Chronic insomnia can leave your brain too tired to function at optimal levels. You may also find that it is harder to concentrate or retain information when your body is physically tired. Because one of the primary functions of sleep is to solidify your long- term memory, your brain will not be able to process the events of the day correctly if it’s not getting the rest that it needs.
5. Mental Health
There is a definitive connection between your mental health and the amount of sleep that you get each night. Sleep deprivation can impact your emotional state, leaving you more prone to developing depression or anxiety. Even if you don’t suffer from serious mental health issues as a result of lack of sleep, you may find that you’re more likely to experience dramatic mood swings.
How to Establish Healthy Sleeping Habits
Now that you know a few of the ways that your sleep habits can impact your overall health, you likely want to correct the situation by changing sleeping habits. First, let’s go over what good sleeping habits look like.
What Are Good Sleeping Habits?
Good sleeping habits include a consistent sleep schedule where you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
Start by creating a welcoming sleep environment that is conducive for quality rest. This includes ensuring comfortable bedding in a dark, quiet place.
If your sleep issues are due to underlying health conditions, there are also a number of professionals that may be able to help you to address them. If you have TMJ, for instance, a TMJ treatment in Raleigh NC professional can fix this medical condition that may be affecting the quality of rest that you get each night.
Tips for Improving Sleeping Habits
While the occasional restless night will not negatively impact your health, the cumulative effects of not enough rest can take a significant toll on your body. Understanding these issues and how you can fix them will help you lead a happier and healthier life.
Here are a few final tips to help you make a change in sleeping habits:
- Get morning sunlight to help regulate your circadian rhythm
- Turn the lights down 2-3 hours before bedtime so help signal to your brain it’s time to wind down
- Avoid blue light (like your phone or computer) 2-3 hours before bed
- Eat your last meal 3 hours before bedtime
- Get exercise daily, like weightlifting, to help alleviate sleepiness during the day and burn excess energy
- Do stretching or yoga before bed
- Try breathing exercises
- Listen to a meditation app or sleep music playlist on Spotify