Everyone at some point in their lives will suffer from a lack a sleep. It could be as simple as having trouble dropping off at night, or waking up in the middle of the night and not being back to get back to sleep, or even to the extreme – full blown insomnia.
It’s ok. It happens to us all. But what matters is how you deal with the sleeplessness itself.. as well as the effects it can happen in your daily life if you don’t.
And it goes beyond just the feelings of being tired, cranky, hungry, and irritable. Or even just needing a good cup of coffee to wake you up.
Here are a few things that can happen when you’re not getting enough sleep.
You get yourself into trouble at work
When you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to become irritable at work and possibly engage in deviant behaviour that could leave you vulnerable to disciplinary action (in extreme circumstances).
You’re basically more likely to cut corners, find the easy way to complete your work, gossip unnecessarily about co-workers, be disrespectful to your bosses, or possibly even steal from your work place.
The best thing to do is to just give yourself a few moments to think about the situation before taking any actions. You’ll thank yourself for it later on.
Slowly, you get depressed
The relationship is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorder. Lack of sleep or inability to get to sleep can be a red-flag for depression as it can lead to increased tension, irritability, fatigue, less exercise, and a lower level of vitality and fitness.
Best course of action is to ensure you maintain your daily routines, especially if it includes some sort of activity or exercise to get your blood pumping. The endorphins it’ll release will help halt the onset of a depressive period, as well as help tire you out so you’ll have a better night’s sleep.
You overeat and get fat(ter)
When you’re not sleeping well, you can make some bad food choices, be it having a late night snack while still laying awake, or justifying allowing yourself that double cheeseburger for lunch the next day because you had such a horrible night.
Sleeplessness can actually affect your hormones, mostly an increase in ghrelin (tells you when to eat) and a decrease in leptin (tells you when to stop eating). The best thing to do is to eat healthy and normally when you’re not sleeping well. Your waistline will appreciate it.
You’re a risk behind the wheel
Obviously when you’re not sleeping well, you can be a danger to yourself and others on the roads because your judgement can be impaired.
When you’re driving and you’re sleep deprived, it can be the equivalent of driving while intoxicated. Your reactions and your ability to recognise dangers on the road are slower, and could potentially cause an accident.
If you can, take public transport or let someone else drive who’s had a good night’s sleep. If that’s not possible, like your job involves a lot of driving, then do yourself and other drivers a favour and take your time on the roads.
Your testosterone dips (for men)
A lack of adequate sleep can affect a man’s testosterone levels, and in effect, affect their sex drive or their vitality for life. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that men who were only allowed 5 hours sleep a night had testosterone levels dip 10 to 15%. This is because testosterone levels are generally replenished while sleeping.
So here are a couple simple tricks to help you on your way to a healthy night’s sleep on a regular basis:
- Avoid too much caffeine, especially later in the day,as it can linger in your system up to 12 hours after consumption;
- Ensure your bed is comfortable and is your ‘nest’. A dark, cool, ‘work-free’ environment is best;
- Set yourself a nightly sleep routine to help you wind-down before heading off to sleep.