Time is one of your most valuable resources: from work to negotiating drop-off, pickup, homework and bedtime with your kids to getting necessary errands done, you may feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. As the hours creep later and later into the evening, you may find the hours you can sleep dwindling down. Making sure you get enough sleep is critical to your overall mental and physical health, giving your mind and body a chance to rest after a long day. If you are looking for reasons to shut down the laptop or put down your phone at night, consider these consequences of poor sleep:
Sleep can directly affect your weight and appetite
Did you know that a lack of sleep is linked to weight gain? If you sleep for shorter periods (five hours or less) per evening, your body may produce different levels of hormones used to regulate your appetite and metabolism. This can lead to gains of up to two pounds per week. Getting a full eight hours of sleep per night helps control your appetite, so you will eat fewer calories than if you sleep for five hours and need to carbo-load in order to stay awake. While lack of sleep is not the only contributing factor to weight gain, the hormone imbalance can reduce your motivation to work out and affect your food choices. You may be more inclined to eat foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar when you are tired in order to get a boost of energy, and you are more likely to experience loss of self-control and overindulge.
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system
If you are not getting enough sleep, your body will be in overdrive as you go through your day, which may leave you vulnerable to viruses like the cold and flu. Lack of sleep can also affect how long it takes for you to recover from minor illnesses and infections due to the reduced production of antibodies. In addition to viruses, lack of sleep can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Sleep deficiency can lead to lapses in judgment
When you are overtired, you can become more easily agitated and emotional. This can lead to you fighting with those closest to you, including your coworkers, family, and friends. A lack of sleep can also lead to accidents, especially if you are operating heavy machinery or a motor vehicle. An estimated 72,000 car accidents are a result of drivers who are overtired and fall asleep at the wheel.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Visit AFC Urgent Care for an examination to help develop more healthy sleep habits.