In addition to being a key ingredient for good overall health, sleep (or lack thereof) can hugely impact your quality of life. Sleep is a key requirement for both mental and physical health. It is vital that you are well rested so that your body can function as it is intended to.
How sleep loss negatively impacts your quality of life
Lack of sleep can alter your mood significantly. It can lead to irritability, stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. It may also lessen your ability to cope with stress. Sleep deprivation also seems to put a damper on people’s ability to reap the emotional benefits of a positive experience. For example,
has shown that when people are sleep deprived, they do not experience the same positive effect after an achievement, whereas people who’d had an adequate amount of sleep, felt better after their achievement.
Why you need sleep to perform at work
In terms of productivity, you are much less capable of processing information, problem solving, and being creative, when you are sleep deprived.
After 24 hours without sleep, you’re mental and motor skills are impaired at the same level as someone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.10,
legally intoxicated in all 50 states. If you want to be your best at work, start by making sure that you are getting adequate sleep.
At the same time, sleep is also a key requirement for peak physical performance. In fact, your body declines in physical performance by
25% for every 24 hours that your body is deprived of sleep. Additionally, when you’re sleep deprived, your body is not able to repair itself as
effectively; thus, you are more prone to illness and injury. It’s hard to be successful when you’re sick all the time.
What sleep does to your health
Sleep deprivation is linked with many adverse health outcomes; including type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Your body also
produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol, when it is sleep deprived. Higher levels of cortisol in the body can have a negative effect
on your immune system, your body’s ability to heal, your metabolism, and digestion, just to name a few.
How much sleep?
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is a good rough estimate but each individual is different, and factors like age and gender
play a role, too.
The best way to determine how much sleep you need is to pay attention to your body’s needs. If your schedule allows, take a few days to
assess it. Go to sleep when you feel sleepy (record the time), do not set an alarm and see what time your body naturally wakes up. If
you can do this for a few days you can start to see just how many hours your body needs.
Do something about it
Being aware of how your environment and your daily habits are affecting your sleep is the first step in improving sleep. Everything
from the amount of caffeine you eat and drink, to the blue light being emitted from your smart phone, can have an impact on your ability to
sleep. Check out our tips below for improving sleep.