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What Sleeplessness Can Do to Your Life

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us know how a sleepless night feels the next day. We may have to reread things several times to get the point. We may fumble simple assignments and find difficult assignments out of reach. Most people recognize that foggy, spaced-out feeling that happens as we try to stay awake and make it through the day.

What the Dangers Are

Now psychologists are telling us sleeplessness impacts every part of our life. Psychologist Amie Gordon, University of California, San Francisco, says our sleep and social life are meshed. The less we sleep the more all of our relationships suffer.

People usually think of sleep as a way to recharge, but psychologists say sleep does much more. During sleep the brain does a lot of housekeeping, sifting through memories and rummaging through the day’s activities. There are two light stages and a deep stage plus the rapid eye movement when we dream. About two hours of REM sleep are needed to be fully alert the following day, according to Psychology Today.

In addition, researchers say there are different types of people. Morning people are at their best early in the day, and evening people come alive later. It is important to know which you are and plan your schedule accordingly.

More Problems

Sleeplessness can impact how well we understand others and how well we get along with our family and friends. When we do not get enough sleep we are less sympathetic and less skilled at solving arguments.

We also have difficulty reading facial expressions of anger or happiness when we are tired, which can create more misunderstandings. Sleepless people also tend to resort to stereotypes and biases, which can lead to clashes at work

Then the plot thickens, as we blunder into conflicts due to sleeplessness. We may tangle with co-workers or family members, and have more trouble sleeping because of the conflicts. If we were not so tired, we might be able to logically think through the issues and resolve them.

Adding to the problem, psychologists say we gravitate to competitive sports, action movies and intense online games, creating more stress and sleeplessness.

Health Impacts

Doctors say this pattern of sleeplessness can have health impacts, triggering weight gain, anxiety, depression, and greater risks for heart disease, diabetes or stroke.

The final answer is simple. If you recognize yourself in any of these sleepless patterns, start  turning things around retrieving your life and preserving your health.

Create a sleep haven to get 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. Establish a regular bedtime, reduce caffeine, alcohol and electronics before bedtime, and erase noise with an air filter. As you get more sleep, you may be amazed at how well the rest of your life is working.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Antonio, Tex.

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