Just as we need a healthy diet, clean air, exercise, and sufficient water intake to function at our best, it's also critical we get enough sleep. Unfortunately when life starts to get hectic, it can be easy to let quality sleep become an afterthought. Not getting your recommended 7 to 9 hours of rest each night can not only impact your health in the short-term, but it can also cause worrisome long-term consequences.
We’ve rounded up some of the health risks of poor sleep below.
Concerning changes in blood pressure.
If you tend to sleep less than 6 hours a night, it’s important to keep an eye out on your blood pressure. Lack of sleep has been linked with higher blood pressure in adults – and if you already have high blood pressure, it can make things even worse.
Reduced cognitive function.
Studies have found a worrying relationship between lack of sleep and impaired cognitive function. In the short-term, sleep deprivation has been found to hinder attention span and memory consolidation. More lasting consequences include long term-memory loss and impaired decision-making skills. Memory loss is tightly related to a lack of REM-sleep, which is essential for both short and long-term memory.
A weakened immune system.
We rely on our immune system to provide defence against illness. Unfortunately, when we regularly don’t get enough sleep, our immune system gets disrupted which makes it easier to fall ill from the common cold or the flu. Even more concerning, when our immune system is disrupted from a lack of sleep, we develop more inflammation in the body. Inflammation is involved in the development of many concerning health issues, such as autoimmune disease, diabetes and heart disease, and mental health concerns such as depression.
Higher risk of car accidents.
We can face a potential deadly consequence of poor sleep when getting behind the wheel after insufficient rest. Studies have shown that people who have had less than 7 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours are at a higher risk of being involved in and responsible for car accidents. In the United States, approximately 7 percent of all car crashes and 16 percent of all fatal car crashes are a result of driver drowsiness. Not only does poor sleep put your health at risk, but it risks the health of others on the road, too.
After reading these health risks, we hope you might be more tempted to get to bed early this evening. Good health starts with a good night’s sleep, so make sure to get those quality Zzzzs from now on 😴