Sleeping Isn’t a Luxury

Alexandra Lambeth, MRC, LPC, CPC, CRC on Feb 15, 2023 in Say More About That

We live in a busy and demanding word, which often leads to us to not getting enough sleep because we are caught up in all the things we are trying to get accomplished during the day. This means that we instead often concentrate on our awake hours to make sure we are productive and make the best use of our time. However, this can lead to problems such as falling asleep and staying asleep, not getting enough sleep, or not sleeping at all. This in turn leads to exhaustion and tiredness, which will affect our daily functioning, as well as our mental and physical health.

It is important that we don’t underestimate the power of sleep. We must realize that sleep isn’t a luxury, but an every-night necessity in order for us to function well and operate at optimum well-being. An adult person usually requires between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Kids usually need more sleep, while aging people needing less sleep. Our bodies are designed to shut down, regenerate and re-energize when we sleep, so we are ready to take on the next day ahead of us. Unfortunately, most adults sleep way less than the recommended hours.

We live with the misconception that we can function just fine with less sleep, which for a few days might be okay, but long-term sleep deprivation will always affect us negatively.

How many hours of sleep do you get each night? If you sleep deprived what is keeping you from getting the amount of sleep that you actually need?

Consider your sleep being the Input and your daily productivity being the Output. Your Input and Output usually will level out. If you don’t sleep enough, your Input is small. If you are fatigued and drained during the day, it will affect your ability to focus and hinder you to complete tasks quickly. You are also likely to make more mistakes when you are tired. Overall your production is decreased. This means your Output is also low. However, when you get enough sleep your Input is high. Therefore, you will be able to work without getting distracted, make less errors, be more time efficient, and overall increase your production, which is a high Output. Low Input leads to low Output. High Input leads to high Output.

Possible Problems of Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Side effects of chronic sleep deprivation can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Daytime exhaustion, tiredness, and fatigue (decreased ability to perform well)
  • Daytime drowsiness (danger of operating car or machinery)
  • Problems staying focused
  • Memory problems
  • Relationship and intimacy problems
  • Feelings of stress and overwhelm
  • Increased risk of developing mental health issues such as depression and/or anxiety
  • Increased risk of developing health issues such as weight gain, weight loss, migraines, pre-matured aging, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack/ failure

Get A Good Night's Sleep

I hope you find the below tips helpful. I highly encourage you to get enough sleep and to practice self-care. You taking good care of yourself and making sure you get enough sleep will allow you to be more energetic, feel recharged, have the ability to focus, and operate your brain and body at your optimum. When you sleep seven to nine hours, you will feel so much better. Give it a try!

Please check out my previous post in the importance of self-care: https://www.freshstartcounseli...

  • Go to bed at the same time each night — keep a routine
  • Try to wind your brain and body down
  • Stay off electronic devices before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar before bedtime
  • Don’t eat huge meals before bedtime
  • Drink decaffeinated tea
  • Use lavender or other types of soothing essential oils
  • Make sure room temperature is comfortable and slightly lower than what you enjoy during the daytime
  • Leave work or any problems behind you
  • Keep a bottle or glass of water next to your bed for hydration
  • Try meditation/praying/positive thoughts
  • Listen to soothing sounds (relaxing music, rainfall, white noise, etc.)
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Use the bathroom before you get comfortable in bed
  • If you sleep with a partner that snores, invest in good earplugs
  • Wear comfortable sleeping clothes
  • Use comfortable mattress and pillows
  • During the summer, use lighter blankets; in the winter, use heavier comforters

Seeking Help

Sometimes people suffer from sleep deprivation for years without seeking help. This happens because we underestimate the impact sleep truly has on us. While we often recognize the problems and symptoms we have, we fail to trace them back to not getting enough sleep.

If you are unable to get the sleep you need, it might be time to seek help. If you think you possibly suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea, or any other serious health concern, please speak to your doctor to get this addressed as soon as possible. Also talk to your doctor about completing a sleep study, as this might give you more insight into the issues you are experiencing. I also encourage you to speak to a mental health professional if you have any emotional concerns that may have developed due to not getting enough sleep.

Sleep Cycle

I want to quickly review the different cycles that we go through each time we sleep. Each cycle is important for its own specific function, and we go through all five phases several times during the night.

  1. Interim sleep, which is a shift of brain and body between consciousness and sleep
  2. Heart rate and brain slow down to prepare for deeper sleep
  3. Body temperature and blood pressure decrease, muscles become very relaxed
  4. Deep sleep allows the body to make repairs, and energy is restored
  5. REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) is usually when the brain becomes more active and dreaming occurs; it generally takes 90 min to reach REM sleep

This article by Dr. Diana Walcutt provides more details about the specific sleep cycles:

Thanks for reading my post. Get some shut-eye!

Alexandra Lambeth is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Grand Prairie, TX.

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