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7 Surprising Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep

7 Surprising Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Most of us get a good night’s sleep when it’s convenient. Or when we’re so tired we can’t keep our eyes open. But research and experts argue that a good night’s sleep needs to be a priority, not a luxury.

Here are seven reasons you need to start taking sleep deprivation seriously and get your recommended eight hours of sleep every night. If you tend to toss and turn at night, there are suggestions below on small changes you can make to help you get restful sleep.

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1. It drags down your sex drive.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “cutting back on sleep drastically reduces a healthy young man’s testosterone levels,” One of the many negative effects of reduced testosterone is lowered libido.

2. It can lead you to make tragic mistakes.

The Huffington Post says sleep deprivation played a role in Chernobyl, the Three Mile Island accident, the Challenger explosion, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the American Airlines Flight 1420 crash.

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3. It impairs you as a driver.

According to the CDC, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013.” These statistics become more even alarming when the article states “an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.”

4. It makes it hard to lose weight or prevents weight gain.

WebMD reports that “in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.” This certainly isn’t helpful for weight loss, and additional studies support the idea that if you want to get slim, you need to get sleep.

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5. It can lead to serious health problems.

Healthline reports that “sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.”

6. It can contribute to depression.

The National Sleep Foundation says “sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.” This can turn into a vicious circle because depression, in turn, is suspected to interfere with sleep.

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7. It messes with your moods.

A Harvard Med article reports that “University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.” (Here’s the research study’s abstract.)

How to get a good night’s sleep

Hopefully this post has inspired you to strive for better sleep. Experts recommend adults make it a priority to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, here are a few tips:

  • The Mayo Clinic warns that “the stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep.” So you might want to consider passing on a soda at dinner or an evening smoke.
  • Dr. Michael J. Breus of The Huffington Post recommends making your bedroom cool and dark to create a sleep-friendly environment.
  • The National Sleep Foundation encourages you to invest in a comfortable mattress and nice pillows. And it also says to “use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.”
  • Here’s a surprising tip from Kansas State University: “Never oversleep.” The university’s article argues you should get up at the same time every day because “sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle–you’ll be getting sleepy later and waking up later.” Upon further research, I found this opinion to be fairly common. Sticking to a sleep schedule increases the chances your body will be tired at bedtime.

Try these ideas to get a better night’s sleep and to avoid the surprising consequences of not having enough sleep. Your health, your safety, and your sex drive might depend on it.

Featured photo credit: 40+293 Snooze/bark via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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