How lack of sleep can impact your health
Posted on May 23 2019
There’s nothing better than waking up refreshed, knowing you’ve had a great night’s sleep. But sometimes, no matter how many sheep you count, it seems impossible to drift off. When this happens, it can impact your health and leave you feeling less than your best. Sleeplessness like this can sometimes be caused by a disorder called insomnia. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you might be wondering if you have insomnia. But what actually is it?
Insomnia is the habitual difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep, resulting in lack of restorative sleep. It’s the most common sleep disorder in the world, although it’s more accurate to think of insomnia as a symptom of another problem, rather than one single sleep complaint.1 The two main types of insomnia are as follows.
- Acute insomnia: this is a short-term problem and usually resolves itself without any treatment. There’s often a clear trigger.
- Chronic insomnia: This is a long-term issue, defined as disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights a week and for at least three months. It can be linked to other health issues, although it’s sometimes difficult to determine the cause.
What causes it?
The causes of insomnia differ from person to person and can be difficult to pinpoint. They can range from emotional issues, to daytime habits, such as consuming too much caffeine. It can be caused by physical or psychological factors, and can, in turn, cause further issues. Here are some of the most common causes of insomnia:
How can I get more sleep?
Improving your sleep habits is the first step to getting a better night’s sleep. There are a few simple steps you can take in order to sort out your routine.
- Don’t go to bed too early! Waiting until you’re ready to sleep can make a difference. Getting into bed when you’re actually tired, instead of forcing yourself to get an early night, can help you drop off.
- Relax before going to bed – for example, read a book or have a bath.
- Set times to go to sleep and wake up, so your body gets into a routine.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool.
- Try and concentrate your efforts on quality sleep, rather than the amount of sleep you’re getting.
- Consider supplements for relaxation.
Insomnia can’t always be cured by making changes to your sleeping habits. Sometimes it’s an underlying medical condition that’s causing sleep issues, in which case, your GP will be able to recommend the right course of action.
Getting enough quality sleep is important so your mind and body can function properly, and you can perform in everyday life to the best of your ability. Good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and stay in good health.2 You should prioritize your sleep in order to stay as healthy and happy as possible.