300416 A lack of sleep may lead to a host of health problems
Many people find a direct association between a lack of sleep with being irritable and tired and having difficulty focusing on tasks. It has even been shown that there is a delayed reaction time with being sleepy. This,can make you dangerous when driving down the road.
However, there are other less obvious health consequences of not getting enough sleep. A recent study found that those who regularly incur the sleep debt were more susceptible, by almost three times, to getting a cold. These people were compared to others who slept a minimum of eight hours a night.
It was also discovered that people who had difficulty in falling asleep or had a fitful night’s sleep of tossing and turning were 5 1/2 times more likely to catch a cold than others were who slept soundly for eight or more hours a night.
A more ominous problem arises with those who regularly sleep less than six hours a night. They have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening an existing high blood pressure condition. A person with high blood pressure or untreated high blood pressure increases their risk of a stroke and other heart problems. Sleep researchers believe that poor sleep prevents the normal nightly decline of blood pressure, which is common to those who sleep eight hours or more.
This continuous lack of sleep also hurts your body’s ability to control and manage its stress hormones, which over time contributes to higher blood pressure numbers. If you didn’t already know it by now, high blood pressure is a killer and must be controlled.
Frequently observed in those who don’t sleep well at night are migraines or tension headaches. However, this connection is not well developed but is certainly thought to be a contributing factor to these types of headaches. Oddly enough, not only is sleeping less than six hours a possible factor that leads to these headaches but also sleeping more than eight hours maybe just as bad for those who suffer from this problem.
If you are not getting at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, then you may want to consider talking to your doctor. There are strategies that can help you sleep better.
Some of the more obvious include:
- Making changes to your sleep routine, including setting up your bedroom to exclude as much light as possible, keeping it cool and quiet,
- Making behavioral changes in your going to sleep ritual,
- Getting a better handle on your acute or chronic pain,
- Cautious and thoughtful use of sleeping pills or
- Even treatment for a sleeping disorder
Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to better physical health.