Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: it increases the risk of depression and dementia and lowers your brain function so you can’t operate at full capacity.
We discuss a few negative health consequences of not getting enough sleep and propose a couple of sleep tips to get you back on track if you’re currently not sleeping well.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Introduction
- 2 Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Increased risk of dementia
- 3 Irregularity of sleep: Underestimated risk factor for depression
- 4 Poor sleep quality affects multiple parts of the brain
- 5 Tips for restoring good sleep hygiene
- 6 Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Conclusion
Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Introduction
Lack of sleep can intensify pre-existing mood and anxiety issues, causing emotional instability, irritability, and fatigue.
It might seem innocent to get up and go to bed at different times every day, doesn’t it? But lacking a regular sleep schedule is not without consequences.
This bad habit can cause bad moods, even a risk of depression. A few tips can help us get back on a good sleep schedule and thus improve our mental health.
Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Increased risk of dementia
Sleep and health are inseparably linked.
Thanks to sleep, the body is able to:
- recover physically and mentally
- store and manage memory
- maintain proper functioning of the metabolism and immunity
On the other side, lack of sleep increases the risk of depression, diabetes, and obesity.
Related: check out our best bed frames for overweight page.
Some studies also suggested a risk of damaged cognitive ability.
For example, they could point to a link between sleep and the ability to flush toxins from brain tissue.
There is a strong connection between sleep disruption or sleep debt and dementia over time. For example, consistently needing 30 minutes or more to fall asleep is associated with a 40% higher risk of dementia.
There are several sleep issues that could cause an increased risk of early death:
- frequently having difficulty staying alert
- regularly taking naps
- poor sleep quality
- sleeping five hours or less per night
There is also a proven link between sleep deficiency and the risk of dementia. This confirms the importance of efforts to get enough sleep each night. It’s even more crucial to help the elderly reach this goal.
Sleep is vital for brain health. So maximizing sleep’s effects and treating sleep disorders is necessary to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mortality.
Irregularity of sleep: Underestimated risk factor for depression
Multiple studies have already shown that the evolution of life rhythms and technologies has a harmful impact on sleep. Having irregular bedtimes is one of those bad habits.
We all have skipped our bedtime or were forced to get up very early, so we all know the effects of it on our mood the next day.
People whose wake-up time varies from day to day can be in just as bad a mood as those who stayed up very late or got up very early.
Those with variable sleep schedules are more likely to score higher on depressive symptom questionnaires. They usually also have lower daily mood scores.
Sleep regularity is an underrated factor in targeting depression and improving mental health.
Poor sleep quality affects multiple parts of the brain
From a neurological perspective, poor quality or insufficient sleep can affect multiple parts of the brain. For example, it affects the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for reasoning and decision-making.
It can also impact the amygdala, the brain area responsible for the fear response. If this area is unbalanced, it triggers increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The result is a triggered “fight or flight” response and anxious feelings.
In patients with dementia, sleep is often overlooked. However, growing evidence suggests that sleep cycles before the onset of dementia may also contribute to the development of the disease.
There is a 15-35% higher risk of dementia in people with less than 6 hours of sleep per night at age 50 or 60. According to researchers, there is also a 25% higher risk of dementia in people aged 50-70 years with a constant sleep debt.
Midlife sleep may play a role in brain health. This confirms the importance of good sleep hygiene on health.
If you are interested to learn more about the impact of sleep on your health, read our other article What health issues can be prevented thanks to sleeping?
Tips for restoring good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene and quality sleep have a powerful effect on both the body and the mind. This is even more crucial if you have mental health issues. Without quality sleep, even the best treatment will be ineffective.
Lack of sleep can amplify pre-existing mood and anxiety issues by increasing emotional instability, irritability, and fatigue. So what can we do to improve our nights?
Create a relaxing sleep environment
Make sure your bedroom is tidy and relaxing. It’s best to sleep in a slightly colder room without light pollution.
Get a bedtime routine
End your day with relaxing activities like a shower or bath, drinking herbal tea, or reading a book.
Don’t bring distractions into the bedroom
Leave your smartphone off in another room, and feel free to enjoy meditation or relaxation exercises before bed.
Practice good sleep hygiene
Try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, avoid electronic devices before bedtime, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Also check out our other blog post about the impact of your digestion on your dreams: Best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well
Why lack of sleep is bad for your health and future: Conclusion
A lack of sleep has numerous negative side effects to your health: from increased risk of dementia and depression to a cognitive impact on your brain.
Sleep tips to ensure you get the sleep you need include optimizing your sleep environment, introducing a bedtime routine, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.