Insufficient sleep can happen for many reasons. It can be self imposed by staying up late to watch a show or surf the internet, or personal obligations like caring for children or family members can take away from your sleep time. Maybe your mind is racing with the things you need to do the next day, or maybe your work hours are inconsistent. We all know that missing out on sleep has an impact on us, but how are we impacted?
The most obvious would be the cognitive impact. Lack of sleep can result in irritability, anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, and can affect your concentration, make you more forgetful, increase your likelihood of errors and lead you to make poor decisions. But cognition is not the only way insufficient sleep can affect you: your immune system can be compromised making you more susceptible to colds and flu, cause weight gain, and increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
So what can be done? Start by avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, alcohol, and large meals before bed, which can interfere with your sleeping patterns. Then try to get into a routine by going to bed and get up at the same time every day. This helps to regulate circadian rhythm. Lastly, if you’re an adult, aim to get between 7-8 hours of sleep every night.