More than just inconvenient, poor-quality sleep can have a major impact on your overall health. “Sleep is necessary for life,” said Roy W. King, DO, a neurologist with Mission Neurology. “Sleep is required for both proper healing and for proper memory formations.”
Chronic sleep deprivation increases risk of hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease, depression, diabetes and stroke, explained Dr. King. Sleep deprivation also increases irritability, decreases concentration, promotes memory lapses/loss, impairs moral judgement, increases reaction times and decreases accuracy.
“Sleep deprivation tends to increase irritability and anger,” said Dr. King. “It also may lessen one’s ability to deal with stress in their life. Chronic sleep deprivation increases risk for depression.”
Sleep deprivation also hinders weight loss. “With sleep deprivation, it has been shown that your body makes more of a protein hormone called ghrelin that promotes hunger, and less of leptin — a protein hormone that signifies satiety. Thus, sleep deprivation tends to lead to overeating,” said Dr. King.
Ten Tips for Proper Sleep
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- Keep a regular schedule for meals, medications, chores and other activities to help keep the inner body clock running smoothly.
- Exercise in the late afternoon to ensure good quality sleep at bedtime.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol (at least within four hours of sleep).
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Avoid eating close to bedtime.
- Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the daytime.
- Don’t watch television, use smartphone devices or read in bed.
- Make your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
Roy W. King D.O., Diplomate in Neurology and Sleep Medicine, ABPN, is a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist with Mission Neurology.