Difficulty sleeping is common before a big event or when excited. But when you lie awake night after night or have trouble staying asleep for weeks on end, there could be a problem with insomnia.
Sleep is essential to good health. Less than seven hours most nights can eventually cause serious health consequences. So allowing sleeplessness to continue to plague your nights can put your overall health at risk.
You need sleep just as much as you need to breathe air and eat nutritious food to function properly. While asleep, your body is at rest and this allows it to heal itself while restoring the chemical balance and boost your memory. A lack of sleep means your body and brain will not function at peak performance.
A study published in 2021 shows a clear link between disrupted and lack of sleep can lead to an early death.
Obvious signs of a lack of sleep include:
- Always yawning
- Overly sleepy during the day
Downing volumes of coffee is not the cure for sleepiness. It can have the opposite effect. Too much caffeine can make it harder to sleep at all.
Stages of sleep
There are two main categories of sleep. How long you spend in one stage or the other changes as you sleep.
During the quiet stage of sleep, you progress through four phases as your sleep increasingly deepens. Your body temperature drops, breathing and heart rate slows, and your muscles relax. In the deepest stage of this phase there are physiological changes that can help boost your immune system.
The other category is when you dream during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. Your blood pressure, body temperature, breathing and heart rate increase to the same level as when awake. REM sleep enhances memory and learning and is good for emotional health.
When there are sleep disruptions, it affects the stress hormones and neurotransmitters which creates chaos in the brain. It hinders your thinking and emotional management. So insomnia and interrupted sleep can intensify the effects of mental health disorders and vice versa.
Insomnia negatively affects you physically
A lack of rest will take its toll on you physically. It does not give your body time to repair and recharge each night. This is vital so it functions properly. You will feel flat and sluggish the next day, and it puts your body at risk of different illnesses. The following are just a few of the possible physical impacts.
Insomnia weakens the immune system
For your immune system to function properly, sleep is essential. While you sleep, the T-cells that fight infection regenerate. These are what helps your body fight off bacteria and the viruses that invade your system. Every hour of sleep you get every night builds up your immunity to the flu and can prevent severe allergic reactions.
Insomnia interferes with your metabolism
Combined with a lack of exercise and overeating, lack of sleep is another risk factor for becoming obese as it interferes with your metabolism. This controls the rate you convert food into calories.
Sleeplessness creates an imbalance of the hormones ghrelin and leptin which are responsible for controlling your hunger and feeling full. A lack of sleep reduces leptin which is what tells you when to stop eating and it increases ghrelin which stimulates your appetite. With these hormones imbalanced, it can promote overeating especially late at night. When you are tired you are less likely to exercise so you are not burning off excess calories.
Sleep deprivation can lower your body’s ability to tolerate glucose which can cause insulin resistance. This can cause diabetes and obesity.
Negatively affects your heart
A good night’s sleep keeps your blood vessels and heart healthy. It is crucial for your body’s ability to recuperate. Remember, your heart continues working whether you are awake or asleep, but insomnia will negatively affect your heart, blood pressure, inflammation and blood sugar levels. It can also lead to a stroke.
Not getting enough sleep can put you at higher risk of heart disease and high blood pressure as you do not spend enough time in a deep sleep which benefits your heart.
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is your body’s information superhighway. For it to operate at its peak, it needs sleep. Insomnia disrupts how your body sends and processes information.
While you sleep, pathways between you brain’s nerve cells form to help you recall new information. When you do not get enough sleep, your brain becomes exhausted which impairs its operation. This makes it difficult to focus and retain new knowledge. It can also delay the signals your body sends, and negatively affect your coordination and put you at risk of having accidents.
Insomnia affects your mental health
Constantly sleeping badly will take a toll on how your brain functions. This will affect your mood and put you at risk of mood disorders such as depression. Irritability and mood swings are a side effect of not getting enough sleep. It can also hamper creativity and the decision-making process.
When sleep disturbances continue for long enough it can trigger manic episodes in people with bi polar disorder. It also causes anxiety, paranoia, impulsive behaviour, depression and thoughts of suicide.
Insomnia can exacerbate depression
Depression is a major problem across the world. According to the World Health Organization over 264 million people worldwide suffer with depression. Insomnia and other sleep problems put you at an increased risk of depression.
Trouble falling asleep every night can intensify any negative feelings you have already bottled up. This can result in chronic mental health disorders such as depression, bi polar and anxiety.
One study found that young people with insomnia caused persistent mental health disorders. But when they started sleeping better, the symptoms disappeared. While the consequences can be severe, you can reverse them once you begin to consistently sleep well again.
Insomnia and bipolar disorder
Insomnia and bi polar can be a double edged sword. People with bi polar disorder can have difficulty sleeping when experiencing a manic episode. Others can oversleep which can be more common than insomnia.
However, consistently having trouble sleeping can exacerbate bi polar disorder and it has a greater impact on women than on men.
There is a close link between insomnia and anxiety. They are interconnected. Insomnia can cause anxiety and anxiety can cause insomnia. When you experience insomnia, it can intensify the symptoms of anxiety and even prevent recovery.
Insomnia destroys productivity
How can you expect to perform at your peak when you do not get enough sleep? It is impossible. Lack of sleep will degrade your productivity at work and at home. First it will result in an inability to focus which severely degrades your productivity. And, secondly, you can develop mental disorders that further decrease your productivity because of a lack of sleep. Not only this, insomnia puts you at a much higher risk of making bad decisions and becoming involved in all types of accidents.
How insomnia affects your social life
Not getting enough sleep is likely to put you into a bad mood that makes you shut yourself away from the world. When you feel sleep deprived, it is harder to read people which can result in miscommunication. This can put a strain on relationships as you may become easily upset and volatile. No one wants to argue or fight with the people around them so it adds to your mental stress and anxiety.
Obviously the best prevention is getting between 7 and 9 hours sleep at night. But when sleep eludes you:
- Limit napping during the day.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Wake up at the same time each morning.
- Do not deviate from your bedtime ritual on the weekend or holidays.
- Avoid caffeine from lunchtime onwards.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Do something relaxing in the hour before retiring such as having a warm bath or reading.
- Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed.
- Do not eat heavy meals late at night.
When you cannot fight off insomnia yourself, you may need help.
Brain Wellness Spa
Not getting enough sleep can turn your life upside down, especially if you do not know what to do to. It can affect your mental, emotional and physical health, and all areas of your life. Tossing and turning, continually waking up during the night or too early, will leave you feeling tired and drained throughout the day. You need to do something about your insomnia if it does not go away naturally. If not, until you do something about your lack of sleep, it will continue to negatively impact you and those around you.
The Brain Wellness Spa is pioneering a new technique, a natural treatment for insomnia that may help. It only requires you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you learn how to relax and recognise any underlying triggers. It may help you start to sleep well again at night. You may even notice an improvement after the first session.
With some simple changes to your life, and with practice, you can learn to sleep better. Discover what triggers your insomnia and work on managing them.
If your insomnia has become a problem that affects your life, it is time to change it before it gets worse. Do something positive about it. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start getting a good night’s sleep again. Feeling tired every day can leave you feeling irritable and frustrated. Falling asleep at all times of the day puts you at risk of being involved in an accident. It is time to get back to enjoying life again.
If you struggle with insomnia, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about getting your sleep patterns under control. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $49 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with insomnia and any mental health challenges you may be experiencing. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of these so you start to take control and enjoy life again.
Let me help alleviate insomnia
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help manage your symptoms to help you start sleeping again. This can give you new hope for the future.
Take charge of your life. Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation with Brain Wellness Spa founder, Terri Bowman. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.
What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose.