Sleep deprivation causes long-term effects on the mind and body.
At some point, we’ve all experienced a restless night of sleep. The tossing and turning. Waking up feeling tired. Feeling cranky and unable to focus at work. The occasional sleepless night isn’t usually a problem, but when it becomes habitual, your mental and physical well-being can plummet.
Sleep deprivation is much more than feeling irritable and tired during the day. It negatively impacts essentially every facet of life.
If you have chronic sleep deprivation you may experience:
- More frequent sick days due to a weakened immune system
- Both short- and long-term memory issues
- Mood swings and feelings of anxiety or depression
- Difficulty with concentrating or problem-solving
- Accidents caused by daytime drowsiness or clumsiness
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension
These are only a few examples of how a lack of a good night’s rest can cause turmoil in your life.
You should be getting at least 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night.
Deprivation of a good night’s rest is serious, but many don’t realize that an adult is considered sleep deprived if they get less than seven hours of quality rest per night on a regular basis.
Your goal should be to get around eight hours of real rest every night. This means eight hours of deep sleep, not eight hours from the time you lay in bed and browse your phone until the time your alarm clock wakes you up.
Your lack of sleep could be caused by one or more of these problems.
If you’ve been struggling to achieve a minimum of seven or eight hours of quality rest, there is often an underlying cause. By solving the problem you’ll be able to get back to a healthy nighttime schedule.
1. Sleep Prioritization
Not prioritizing sleep is the most common cause of sleep deprivation. If you often find yourself staying up late, start setting a bedtime alarm clock on your phone. This alarm will give you a head’s up that it’s time to turn off Netflix or get off the computer and begin your bedtime routine.
2. Bedroom Setting
Your bedroom has a surprising impact on your quality of sleep. The room should be cool, totally void of light, and quiet. Some people do benefit from a white noise machine or fan rather than complete silence. Ideally, your bedroom will also be a no TV/laptop/phone zone before you head to bed to prevent blue light from tricking your brain into staying awake.
3. Diet and Nutrition
What you fuel your body with has a significant impact on your quality of rest. Foods with a lot of caffeine and sugar are the most obvious culprits. However, foods that are very fatty and greasy can also leave you feeling uncomfortable during the night. Keep an eye on the foods and drinks you choose to enjoy around three or four hours before bed.
Restless nights aren’t always due to insomnia, but if you experience chronic sleep deprivation despite making lifestyle changes, you may have this exceptionally common sleep disorder. Insomnia makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Thankfully, due to how common insomnia is, there are plenty of treatment options available. We strongly recommend speaking with your doctor if you at all suspect you have insomnia.
5. Sleep Apnea
Do you snore every night? Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea and affects millions of adults. Even if you don’t feel yourself waking up from your own snoring, your body isn’t able to achieve restful night if you have this disorder. In addition to speaking with your doctor about your snoring, let your dentist know as well as it can affect your oral health.
6. Stress or Anxiety
Sleep deprivation can cause a frustrating cycle of stress and anxiety. Sometimes a stressful event at work or home may lead to restless nights. This leaves you sleep-deprived, which in turn impedes your ability to decompress from further stress. Take the time to practice self-care on a daily basis. Do what you can to protect your own well-being from feeling overwhelmed. Most importantly, reach out to a professional if you’re feeling lost, overwhelmed, or unsure of what to do.
7. Underlying Health Conditions
Undiagnosed health conditions can lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Similar to sleep apnea, some health conditions can also affect your quality of rest, even though you seem to be getting eight hours a night. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are good examples. If you’ve been diagnosed with one of these health conditions, be sure to ask your doctor for guidance if your night’s rest is being impacted.
8. TMJ Disorder
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders can cause jaw pain, tooth damage, headaches, and sore muscles in the neck and shoulders. TMJ disorders also cause sleep problems for many individuals. Bruxism, or teeth grinding and gnashing, is a symptom that often happens at night. This can cause you to wake up or not achieve restful, quality sleep. Your dentist can help diagnose your TMJ and provide treatment with mouthguards.
Improve your sleep by visiting Tomasik Family Dental.
We can help you improve your quality of sleep by ensuring your oral health isn’t an obstacle. From treating cavities so you don’t wake up with a surprise toothache to providing custom-fitting nightguards to halt your TMJ disorder, our team is ready to help.
You can schedule a consultation, TMJ evaluation, and more by calling our office or filling out this quick online form.