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You may view sleep as something that’s impacted by your health, but the reality is that it’s actually a two-way street.  Studies have shown that your health can be significantly impacted based on both the quality and quantity of your sleep.  How well we sleep trickles down to all aspects of our health: physical, mental, and emotional.  If you’re experiencing a lack of sleep over a long period of time, it can even lead to an increased risk of health disorders.  Here we provide a brief overview of the synergy between health and sleep and what you can do to improve the quality of both.

Physical Health Impacts

That old adage your parents probably told you of “your body needs time to recharge” to get you in bed as a child applies throughout your entire life.  When we sleep, it not only gives our body a chance to rest; it allows our bodily systems time to recharge themselves.  The most obvious example of this would be the physical healing process, whether that be from an intense workout or an injury you sustained earlier in the day. 

A lesser known process that is impacted by a lack of sleep is the immune system’s strength.  By not getting quality sleep, your immune system works overtime, putting your immune defenses at a lower level of efficacy than normal.  A lack of sleep can also increase the levels of cortisol in your body, resulting in higher levels of stress and leaving you prone to skin problems, such as acne, dark circles under your eyes, and “crow’s feet” wrinkles.

Over time, a sustained lack of sleep can lead to a greater risk of serious health issues, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac events, such as strokes and heart attacks
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Mental Health

Some of the most important processes that are affected by a lack of sleep are the neurological and psychological ones.  Not only do our brains need sleep to rest, but they also need the time to process the events and sensory input collected from the day and perform the necessary subconscious tasks to file the information away in the appropriate areas.

Not getting enough sleep interrupts these neurological processes, resulting in some minor symptoms, such as feelings of fatigue upon waking, lower levels of energy throughout the day that caffeine doesn’t seem to be able to counteract, and headaches.  If the sleep problems persist, however, it can lead to more serious consequences, such as memory impairment (as your brain doesn’t have the ability to file information away properly), lack of awareness of your surroundings, and an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel while driving.

Emotional Health

As a result of the mental impact of sleep deprivation, our emotional processes are next up in line to be disrupted.  When our brain doesn’t get the rest and rejuvenation it needs, we start to experience an increased difficulty controlling our emotions, resulting in mood swings, emotional outbursts, getting irritated more easily, and an increased risk of depressive moods.  This can put a strain on our personal relationships, especially if you work in a fast-paced work environment.

Benefits of a Sleep Consultation

As you have hopefully become aware, sleep is not a trivial part of our lives.  It is linked to all aspects of our health and daily activities.  Just like with any other health regimen, your sleep schedule needs the same amount of care and consideration as your physical and mental fitness.  The best way to get started is by scheduling a sleep consultation at Elite Sleep.  Think of it like you would an annual physical exam: a checkup that’s necessary to get you on the right track and stay there.  A sleep consultation is a great way to arm yourself with the knowledge and tools you need to keep tabs on the signals your body is telling you about your sleep cycles and how they’re affecting you.  

At Elite Sleep, we start with a sleep test to get the full picture of your sleeping habits and what areas need some attention.  From there, we’ll meet with you to discuss your results and create a game plan suited to your lifestyle and personal needs that can get you back to sleeping soundly and deeply through the night, every night.  To get started, simply give us a call at 425-437-3311 or schedule a consultation with us online today.