Is A Chronic Lack Of Sleep Damaging Your Brain?
Is skipping sleep to accommodate a busy schedule a regular practice for you?
It’s what has to be done, right?
Your to-do list has more items than hours in the day, and so sleep is the first thing you sacrifice.
We’ve all done it at times. But, what happens if this becomes a pattern?
If you’re not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, you could be causing damage to your brain!
I’m glad you asked…
Impact Of Chronic Sleep Deficit
Long term sleep deprivation can have many negative effects on your health such as:
- heart attack
- a weakened immune system
This is because your body indeed needs sleep…and not just to refill your energy supplies.
When you sleep, your body labors. Your body uses this down-time (sleep) to perform some needful processes internally.
When you sleep:
- your cells work to repair themselves
- hormones are released
- tissue growth occurs
- cells make proteins that are needed for proper structure and function
- nerve cells in the brain are refreshed/cleaned out
And, that last point is what we’ll focus on here…what happens to your brain when you sleep, or rather, when you frequently don’t get enough sleep?
During sleep, within your brain, memories are stored.
Your short term memories turn into long term memories, and in the process, unneeded information gets trashed or cleared out.
I’m sure there have been times when, by the end of the day, you just feel like your brain is fried. It’s like your brain is overloaded, and you just can’t think clearly.
But, then you get a good night of sleep, and you awake refreshed, physically and mentally.
This mental refreshing is due to those tasks performed within your brain during sleep.
The decluttering process we’re speaking of is known as phagocytosis.
Cells that provide protection for neurons clear out synapses (connections) while you sleep, basically pressing the refresh button on your brain.
This refresh translates to benefits that we generally take for granted: clear memory and effective communication.
So then, what happens when you regularly skimp on sleep?
Studies show that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis causes that decluttering process to ramp up to detrimental levels.
It’s like you’re a teenager, and your mom says it’s time to clean that unsightly mess otherwise known as your room.
She even lends a hand. Things are going well. You can actually see the floor again, and your dresser (you thought had disappeared) is visible.
But, then mom gets a little (or a lot) carried away, and all of a sudden it’s like:
“Wait! Don’t throw that out. I still wear those jeans!” And “Don’t throw out that whole stack of papers, my science report is in there too!”
So, basically, it’s all fun and games until your sleep-starved cells start throwing out more than just the trash!
And, research shows that this is what is happening when you frequently do not get enough sleep.
You’ll thus begin to notice your memory, ability to focus, and decision making skills are affected.
You might find learning new tasks to be more difficult, and that your creativity has suffered.
And, over a prolonged period of time, this unregulated nerve cell and synapse destruction from chronic sleep deficits has been associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.
So, what can you do?
Maybe it’s as simple as a change in habits, a re-prioritizing of your schedule?
But, what if you actually have trouble falling asleep, or even staying asleep through the night which is resulting in a regular lack of sleep?
What can you do to facilitate restful sleep each night?
Sleep Hygiene Tips
If you find yourself lacking visits from the sandman, here’s a few tips to incorporate so that you can be on your way to getting a good night’s rest…oh, and that’s 7-9 hours for adults, so say the experts!
Nix The After Dinner Caffeine
Any caffeine too close to bedtime will inevitably keep you awake, making it harder to fall asleep in the first place. But, this isn’t the only problem.
Caffeine can also lessen the amount of time that your body spends in deep sleep. During deep sleep your body produces needful hormones, facilitates learning, and supports long and short term memory.
And, think you’re doing fine if you prefer a smoke instead of a coke? Think again. Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant, which can equally affect your body’s ability to both fall asleep and get sufficient deep sleep.
Move Your Body
While exercising close to bedtime isn’t advised for most individuals, moving your body sometime throughout the day is definitely beneficial to a good night’s sleep.
Studies have shown that even just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise during the day can improve your night of sleep.
Limiting screen time and spending some time outdoors each day has many benefits, including facilitating a proper night of sleep.
Our poor, unfortunate ancestors missed out on electricity and electronics…or did they? With the invention of artificial light and blue light from electronics, coupled with less time outdoors, our sleep cycles are suffering.
You can actually confuse your body as to when it should naturally be time to rest, thus interrupting sleep cycles.
To facilitate a healthy sleep-wake cycle:
- turn off electronics approximately two hours before bedtime
- get outside at some point during the daytime hours and even after dark
- allow natural light to come into your home during the daytime hours
- limit exposure to light during the nighttime hours
Prep Your Bedroom
Getting a good night’s rest depends on comfort as well. So, make sure your bed, pillows, and clothes (or lack of clothes, if you prefer) are comfortable. Then, adjust your thermostat.
The experts say that an optimal sleeping temperature is between 60-70 degrees. This is due to findings that show a strong link between thermoregulation and circadian rhythm.
Aim for a little Sheldon Cooper quality when it comes to bedtime. Surely The Big Bang Theory character slept in perfect peace and body aiding rest with his propensity for routine.
When you stick to a routine at bedtime, your body begins to recognize this as a precursor for sleep. These routines can remedy difficulties in falling asleep.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each evening and morning. And, taking a warm bath/shower or reading a book (by candlelight for best sleep-promoting benefits) can help you to establish a nighttime, sleep-inducing routine.
Sleepytime Chocolate Tea
Hot chocolate is a delicious, relaxing drink by itself, but…
So you wake up feeling clear, happy, relaxed… almost like stepping into a sleep time machine.
That’s why if you struggle to sleep well (and you hate the scary side effects of sleeping pills) I recommend you try this delicious hot chocolate to
→ Start feeling sleepy within 12 minutes of drinking.
→ Sleep all the way through the night. Totally unbroken sleep.
→ Soothe and relax your sore muscles and joints.
→ Wake up feeling AMAZING for a change!
It’s because this tea works on multiple levels to lull you into restful sleep.
→ Hyper-extracted turmeric
→ Lemon balm
→ Spices used for centuries to “heat up” your blood, improving circulation, soothing muscles, to give you deep, DEEP relaxation.
Of course, it has less than 1g of sugar (but still tastes sweet), is 100% Organic, and non-GMO.
This is a seasonal offer and it will FLY off the shelves. Grab your discounted hot chocolate sleep solution here before it runs out!