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How Too Little Sleep Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

By Genevieve Cunningham

As teenagers and young adults, we often think that a lack of sleep is a badge of honor. We stay up all hours of the night, working, playing, watching TV. We think that getting eight hours of sleep makes us old or makes us boring. If only we knew. The truth is that a lack of sleep can be downright dangerous to our health. Take a look at these ways in which too little sleep can cause harm to your health, followed by tips for sleeping well.

You’ll Lose Focus

This might happen after even one night of no sleep, but after a few nights of sleeplessness, the mental fog is so real. While this might not seem inherently dangerous, it can cause us to make poor decisions that may cause further harm. Your reflexes may be slower, which means driving becomes dangerous. Your attention span may be short, which means dealing with your children becomes difficult. Losing focus is tough, but losing focus day in and day out is dangerous.

You Might Get Sick

Sleep has a way of keeping the immune system up and running. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause the immune system to slow down and work less efficiently. This means that when a germ enters the body, it has a better chance of invading and causing significant illness. If you don’t want to be sick all the time, getting enough sleep is absolutely crucial.

Risk of Heart Disease is Higher

In studies completed by various research organizations, it was found that a severe lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Why? Because your body, including your heart, isn’t getting enough rest. It’s also likely that a person who refuses to sleep regularly is also engaging in other unhealthy behavior, making the risk for disease higher than ever.

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s time to change your habits. But how? A few ways to get more sleep might include:

  • Set a bedtime - Kids have bedtimes for a reasons … to ensure proper rest. Follow their example and you may finally get enough rest as well.

  • Turn off the TV - The TV, the phone, the laptop. All of these are distractions that can keep you awake.

  • Lower the temperature - Cooler temperatures make for better sleep. Turn down the thermostat and cuddle down into the blanket.

  • Exercise early - Exercise tires the body and also helps to set a natural clock within the body. But make sure to do it early in the day in order to avoid the workout high interfering with sleep.

Once you’re past the teenage years, there’s really no reason to let your sleeping habits get out of control. You might have a few late nights and lose sleep on occasion, but making a solid bedtime and sleeping routine should be a priority. Use these tips to get you moving in the right direction, and sleep like a baby before you know it.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glen Allen, Va.

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