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12 Reasons Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep is always a good start to the day. It makes us feel better and improves our performance in all walks of our lives, but did you know it can literally be a matter of Life & Death!
There is a Sleep Disorder called FFI (Fatal Familiar Insomnia) that experts say can kill you, but it’s unclear how it does My guess is that you would need to have suffered severe bouts of Sleep Deprivation and hopefully, you would have got help long before any fatal occurrence. But that’s enough drama for now, let’s concentrate on the reasons Why Sleep Is Important!
1. Good Sleep Improves Your Mood
It’s obvious we know, but a good nights sleep really can be the difference to a good mood or a bad one. You haven’t slept well, your now grumpy & irritable, you snap at the children, or work colleagues, or anyone who gets in your way. When you come home after an exhausting day, all you want to do is go to bed. You know it’s too early, so you stay up till later, still exhausted, still in a bad mood. Sound Familiar? It should, because more and more of us are suffering every night with Sleep deprivation. The average American gets 6.8 hours sleep according to this report from a Gallop Poll in 2013 but incredibly 14% of Americans get 5 hours or less sleep per night on average. And this is from 2013! Heaven knows what the average will be now, with the onslaught of Cell phones & tablets! We simply dread to think.
All of this impacts on our mood. It’s a vicious circle of not sleeping, being moody, not sleeping, round & round.
2. Bad Sleep Makes You Gain weight
This is a little known fact, but sleep deprivation increases your weight over time. I know this from my own sleepless experiences that you can read on this blog. You’ve been lying awake for 4 hours and it’s now 3am. The experts say, “Hey, don’t lie there watching the ceiling, get up, read a book, go back to bed and sleep”, only it’s not that easy, you get up, but now for some lack of sleep hormonal reason, your hungry, so you have a nibble at something, voila, all those nibbles mean extra weight. Add to that the fact that lack of sleep is associated with weight gain without food and it’s a no win situation.
Weight gain is of course, associated with all the health risks you can think of, including, heart problems, Diabetes, etc.
It’s another good reason why sleep is important!
3. Good Sleep Improves Your Immune System
It’s well-known to experts that lack of sleep suppresses the immune system & good sleep recharges the immune system. I know from personal experience that it’s a lot easier to catch colds , flu, and any number of infections from lack of sleep. It’s fairly obvious when you think about it. We all know sleep recharges us after a long hard day, but did you ever think about your immune system being affected by lack of sleep? Me neither till it started happening to me.
4. Good Sleep can stop you dying!
Research shows that 70 Million Americans suffer from at least one type of Sleep Disorder (Institute of Medicine 2015), that’s an awful lot of drowsy drivers & machine operators. Estimates are that there are upto 6,000 fatal auto crashes every year caused by drowsy drivers alone. God knows how many die from work related injuries because they are still drowsy and not concentrating. I really do believe an epidemic has arrived. And it’s going to get a whole lot worse. Let’s face it, we all know we do it, go to work tired. But what can you do when your boss fires you for being late or taking a much-needed sickie? The answer is go to work tired. I did it for at least 4 years as I had no option and it was hell on earth. I simply don’t know how I didn’t get fired! And yes, I should have resigned but I couldn’t afford to!
Then of course, there is the additional risk of dying through Sleep deprivation or associated illnesses as already mentioned
5. Bad Sleep can Be BAD news for your Sex Drive!
Testosterone plays a vital role in a person’s sex drive, especially men. A survey carried out by (JAMA) Journal of American Medical Association found in 201 that after one weeks sleep deprivation (less than 5 hours a night sleep) young men had 15% less testosterone than normal. This is an amazing decrease and that’s after only one week. Imagine what your levels would be if it was years of sleep deprivation like lots of us go through.
Of course, loss of testosterone means reduced libido, means loss of or reduced erections in men, and reduced sex drive in women. And let’s be honest, after a week os sleep deprivation, would any of us feel like sexy time anyway? I know I didn’t!
6 Bad Sleep is Terrible news for your stress levels
We have already discussed about how lack of sleep can create mood disorders, but sleep deprivation can also cause Stress levels to soar. My own Insomnia journey caused Stress, Anxiety & Depression, all fed off each other in a never-ending circle. No sleep, get up tired worrying about no sleep, go to bed, no sleep, lie awake worrying about no sleep, feel stressed, bring on anxiety & depression & more stress. My own stress levels got so bad I had to attend A & E with a rapid faint pulse with very high Blood Pressure. 5 years later I am still on Blood Pressure Tablets to keep my HBP under control, so i totally understand the correlation between sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety & depression. I’m going to write a blog all about this as one subject as I know it’s so important!
7. Alcohol dependency Soars with Sleep Debt
During my Insomnia journey, I have had my share of problems with drink , and I can tell you, there’s a fine line between dependency & addiction. At some stages I have even bought spirits to try to get sleep. Wine, spirits, Beer. I tried it all. Nothing worked. Well, it worked for a couple of hours, where I got some sleep, but then I would wake up and not be able to get to sleep again, making it even worse than before the drink. I also snored more, which affected my partners sleep and created tension with her.
I now realise that it’s actually a scientific fact that Yes, the alcohol will put you to sleep for a few hours, but the adverse effects on your body & the second half of your sleep makes it virtually worthless as a reason to use for sleep purposes.
I now only have the odd glass of wine for social reasons.
8. Drug dependency soars with Sleep Debt
Again, I can talk from a personal point of view. I was most definitely on Sleeping tablets, sometimes 3 a night. I’m certainly not proud of that fact. But especially when you have an important day at work and you’ve been lying there awake all night, it seems like the answer. It was getting to a crunch point in my life. Did I really want to become an addict to sleeping pills?
I decided to try other methods, some of which worked and you can read in my blog post https://improvesleeps.com/story-cant-sleep/
The end results was that I do still use sleeping pills but only as an emergency, perhaps once a week and only ever half a tablet which gives me 4 hours sleep normally.
You can easily become dependant on these things, so try to avoid if you possibly can. Indeed, I know of one celebrity who admits to having to take 7 tablets to get to sleep!
9. Bad Sleep is BAD for your relationships!
Sleep deprivation leads to all sorts of complex issues with your relationships, whether with your partner or family & friends, or work colleagues & bosses. I have had my fair share of issues with all sections of my life.
Imagine the scenario…..
I wake up after a very bad night of only 3 hours sleep. I can’t take a day off because I am already under a warning for sick days. I get ready for work after my wife telling me she had a bad night because I was tossing & turning and when I took my sleeping pill, it made me snore very loud. So I drive to work tired and greet my colleagues who say “you look like you haven’t slept all night”. Now I feel even worse as I have anxiety about my appearance now. My boss calls me into his office to ask if I’m OK as I look tired. “Can you work OK” “Wouldn’t it be better if you went home” I remind him of my sickness warning from his boss. He understands but asks me to let him know if I need help. I do, but I can’t let him know as he will send me home. Somehow I get through the day, with heart racing and feeling totally stressed. I drive home on auto pilot, have some dinner, collapse of the sofa, and amazingly fall asleep for an hour, but now feel anxious as I know this will affect my sleep later when I go to bed. So I have a drink to make me feel sleepy again, but I know this will wake me up at 3am. I collapse on the bed at 11pm and stare at the ceiling for hours wondering why I’m still awake when I’m so desperately tired. I take a sleeping pill at 3am which knocks me out till 7 when the alarm wakes me up. I’m grateful for the 4 hours sleep but still desperately tired and the circle continues…….
If this sounds like you, you need help. Read my blog, see which Sleep Aid might work for you. Try some of the advise I give. It worked for me and WILL work for you. I know something will. Just try it!
10. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of suicide
Not only does sleep deprivation mess with your health & relationships, it also increases the risk of suicide. I am lucky. I never got so bad that I considered this, but I do know of people who have actually thought that Suicide is the only way out. I totally understand their thinking, but I totally disagree. Suicide is a coward’s way out. Wouldn’t it be much better to solves your problems, including sleep issues, enjoy your life & be writing a blog about your experiences later on in life. That’s what I’m doing right now. I had a terrible time, yet here I am writing about it, and enjoying life compared to my previous one.
Needless to say, if you are feeling Suicidal about Sleep issue or whatever issues are effecting you, please go get some help from your GP or Medical centre.
11. FFI (Fatal Familiar Insomnia) Can Kill You
This is a very rare disorder and I only mention it because people believe lack of sleep can kill them. Well, it can as this sections shows, but it’s highly unlikely.
This is an extremely rare disease of the brain. The disease progresses like this-
- Temperature fluctuations & sweating
- Complete loss of sleep
- Rapid weight loss
- Dementia & unresponsiveness
- Sudden death
All of this progression takes between 7 & 35 months
Obviously if you are following these symptoms, you need to seek urgent medical help
12. Life after Sleep Deprivation
It’s important to remember that there is a life after your sleep problems. I am proof of this. I know average 6/7 hours per night with the occasional 5 hours or even sometimes 8 hours. This is a minor miracle for me and if you had asked me when this all started if I believed it would be possible, the answer would have been a resounding “NO”
I know my survival can be your survival. My experience will be vital in your winning the battle against all the odds. You just need to find which part of the massive jigsaw puzzle of sleep is waiting to be put into place.
Please check out the other blog posts. You can contact me via the contact page or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again for your interest!