What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Restful Sleep?

woman unable to sleep

You won’t think that sleeping problems aren’t legitimate or serious until you experience than yourselves. Sleeplessness and sleep deprivation are common issues that many people don’t look out for until it gets worse. It can be because of sleep disorders, mental health issues, current personal problems, or perhaps just being busy in day-to-day lives that you don’t have time to get enough sleep.

Approximately 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages and classes have sleep-related problems and at least one in three adults don’t get enough sleep.

How much sleep do you really need?

How much sleep you need differs from person to person and each of us can have different sleep patterns as well. You know that there are recommended hours of sleep depending on how old you are. Experts say that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. However, when you sleep that long, it doesn’t always mean that it’s restful.

A person with a sleeping problem may experience time gaps in between sleep and some can have trouble falling back to sleep once they wake in the middle of the night. If you’ve slept within the recommended number of hours of sleep and still feel tired the moment you wake up, that would most probably mean that you didn’t get quality sleep.

In some cases, quality is better than quality. But in this case, a person must have a good quality of sleep within the recommended hours to be in excellent health. It provides you with more benefits than you realize.

What is the difference between sleeplessness and sleep deprivation?

Many people often interchange the use of these words. By definition, sleeplessness and sleep deprivation both mean not getting enough sleep, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Sleeplessness, also known as insomnia, is when a person is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even when they got the time and opportunity. It’s mostly involuntary. It can be a symptom of anxiety and depression. In some cases, it’s an actual sleep disorder.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, is when a person doesn’t have enough time for sleep because of a demanding lifestyle. Having career obligations is one common contribution to sleep deprivation. It is mostly driven by voluntary responses to day-to-day life.

man having a midnight snack

What happens if you don’t get enough restful sleep?

When you often don’t get enough good quality sleep, your cognitive abilities are the first to suffer majorly. It starts out as drowsiness, trouble controlling emotions, fatigue, and impaired focus. Then it soon leads to impaired memory, decision making, and learning, slow reaction time, and behavioral changes. If you’re sleep deprived for longer, it can worsen and cause anxiety and hallucinations.

However, your brain is not the only one that suffers from sleep deprivation and sleeplessness. Your heart, skin, libido, weight, and immune system as well. It also has the potential to increase cancer risk.

How does your sleep quality change as you age?

Many people find that aging causes them to have a more difficult time falling asleep. It becomes more and more frequent that they wake up either in the middle of the night and too early in the morning. They’d have trouble falling back to sleep once they awake. Most older adults claim they sleep longer and more soundly when they were younger.

Older adults tend to suffer from sleeplessness because of some underlying illnesses or the medications they take. They might have heart or lung problem that causes their breathing to tighten. Perhaps a bodily painful illness such as osteoarthritis. Depression and anxiety are also possible for older adults, even insomnia.

In mild cases, sleeplessness is mostly caused by stress for middle to older adults. Home remedies for stress relief can still be effective, such as daily walking, joining an online tai chi class, or trying aerobics. This way, they can improve both their mental and physical health.

Doctors don’t recommend for them to take sleeping pills and sedatives because they are more prone to severe side effects that can worsen their already condition. Plus, sleeping pills can result in poor brain functionality even for younger adults. Sedatives are supposed to be the last resort. There are different behavioral therapies that they can try.

However old you are, getting good sleep quality is one of the most important things you have to do in order to maintain your health in good condition. Every time you sleep, your body and mind can rest and recover all the lost energy so you can wake up the next day feeling refreshed and well-rested. Not getting good quality sleep can greatly affect your cognitive abilities, physical, and mental health.

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