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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

15 Minutes Less of Sleep Can Break Your Day

15 Minutes Less of Sleep Can Break Your Day

A highly busy person is seen as someone who works tirelessly, working both day and night for their goals. Some even strive for this, and stay up late working all hours, surviving on sheer determination, and a significant amount of coffee. This kind of behavior is destructive. Working without sleep, or working when you haven’t slept enough can have a great impact on your ability to focus, function, and your health overall.

In 1999, a plane, American Airlines 1420 crashed on the runway of Little Rock Airport, Arkansas.[1] There was nothing out of the ordinary about the flight, such cross country flights are routine, the kind every pilot in the world makes hundreds of times in their career. The plane was working perfectly. Yet the crashed killed 11 people, including the captain, and wounded over one hundred others. After some investigation, it was concluded that the pilots were too fatigued, and didn’t pay full attention the the situation around them, and failed to activate the spoiler system, a device in the plane to aid in landing.

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    Of course, not all of us are airline pilots, but think about it, how many times have you heard about fatal car accidents that were caused by a tired driver, or a lack of attention. It is extremely common. It has been estimated that 100,000 car accidents per year occur because the driver was fatigued.[2]

    Why do we sleep less now?

    As human beings, we have evolved to function around the day and night cycle. For centuries, low light conditions signalled to us that it was time to sleep. However, since the invention of electronic lighting, we have created environments where we can remain constantly in bright light conditions, whether it is in the middle of the night or the middle of the day. What’s worse, it has been discovered that the light emitting from an LED screen, the kind on our phones, tablets, computers, or TV actually slows down or even stops the melatonin , a hormone in the brain which enables us to sleep.[3] As a result, either through our own behaviour or our devices, we are getting less sleep than we need in order to function.

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      There have been countless studies into the effects of sleep deprivation, and almost all of them show that it is extremely damaging. Symptoms can range from difficulty focusing, to greater risks of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. By not sleeping as much as we need, we could be putting ourselves in considerable risk.[4]

      The dangers aren’t just health related. Being even slightly sleep deprived can have a huge and disastrous impact on your productivity. It has been shown that losing 90 minutes of sleep can reduce your alertness by as much as one-third. If you’re working in a high pressure and demanding environment, that can have a massive impact on your productivity.[5] Your mental state after four hours of sleep is similar to that of legal drunkenness.[6]

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        However, those who sleep the recommended eight hours per day find they remain focused throughout the day, with few, if any impairments to their mental functioning.

        A small adjustment can turn things around

        Make a small adjustment in your sleeping habit, as small as 15 or 30 minutes, can make a great difference on your energy level the following day.

        Try to gradually add 15 minutes of sleep to your nightly schedule every day. Continue with this until you feel fully rested the next morning. By then you’ll find out exactly how much sleep you need to feel energetic. When you realize the time you need to sleep to gain sufficient energy, stick to that time.

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        There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleeping. Check out this article if you want to sleep better: 15 Ways to Sleep Better, and Wake up Refreshed

        You might find yourself surprised about how much of an impact a tiny adjustment to your sleep pattern can have. Retaining a healthy sleeping pattern will help keep you alert, highly functioning, and productive throughout the day.

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Samantha Aloysius

        Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

        10 Best Therapy Apps to Better Your Mental Health Anywhere 15 Minutes Less of Sleep Can Break Your Day When to Worry about Eye Twitching – You Could be Stirring it Unknowingly Here’s How to Take a Better Break. You’ve Been Doing Wrong All The Time It’s Not Easy, Making An Easy Living Is It?

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        Last Updated on January 14, 2021

        7 Signs of a Thyroid Problem That You Should Not Ignore

        7 Signs of a Thyroid Problem That You Should Not Ignore

        An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid problem. It may be a sad surprise, but approximately 15 million people are silent sufferers of thyroid disease.

        This is quite unsettling for anyone who is taken unaware by a thyroid disorder, as it can lead to some serious health complications, such as weight loss or weight gain, infertility, mood changes, etc. If you’re a female aged 35 or above, you have greater risk of acquiring the disorder. What’s more, an underactive thyroid in children can be life-threatening. 

        That all sounds like bad news, but a thyroid problem does have solutions once you know what’s going on. 

        Huge Responsibility for a Tiny Gland

        Breathing, central and peripheral nervous system regulation, heart rate, muscle strength, body weight, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels, body temperature, and the list continues—this small, butterfly-shaped gland has got a huge job description that includes regulating numerous body systems and releasing hormones.

        The one thing that confuses people (and sometimes even doctors) when identifying thyroid disorders is the variety of signs and symptoms that can develop. This makes it tough to detect the root cause of any thyroid problem[1].

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        Anatomy of the thyroid

          Are you experiencing sleepiness, a foggy brain, or weight loss? You could be one of the 20 million people with a thyroid problem. If you are nervous about a potential thyroid disorder, these symptoms should ring the alarm for you.

          1. No Sex Drive

          Hypothyroidism is a killer of sex drive. Low libido is often linked with too little thyroid hormone, as the thyroid shares a connection with adrenal glands, as well as sexual hormones. Complaints of low testosterone levels have also been resolved through thyroid treatment.

          Thyroid problems have also been linked to vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable for women. For men, a thyroid problem can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to erectile disfunction. Basically, a problem with your thyroid is a problem for your sex life[2].

          2. Dry, Itchy Skin

          Rashes may appear as poor thyroid function weakens your blood circulation, changing the appearance of your skin. Moreover, less sweat is a result of a slow metabolism, which can make your skin dry and flaky due to a lack of moisture.

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          3. Lazy Digestive Tract

          You could be constipated due to the slowing down of your bodily functions because of hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, can force you to visit the restroom very frequently, or you may even suffer from diarrhea.

          Furthermore, you may experience chest pain due to a change in stomach acid. Nausea and vomiting can also occur, so don’t take these symptoms lightly[3].

          4. Irregular Body Temperature

          It’s simple: hypothyroidism will always lower the body temperature, while hyperthyroidism will always increase it. Correct amounts of thyroid hormones regulate body temperature by increasing available energy in the body, and they also increase appetite, pulse, the levels of oxygen delivered to different body parts, and fat buildup, depending on your level of activity.

          Thyroid hormones are also in charge of regulating ATP, which is the energy currency in a cell. This is why your body temperature changes: too much ATP (hyperthyroidism) will cause the body to produce too much heat, and too little (hypothyroidism) won’t produce enough[4].

          It’s important to note that menopause can cause such changes as well, so you’ll need to confirm a thyroid problem with your doctor.

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          5. Unexplained Pain

          Are your muscles causing you pain for no reason? It could be a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism means less metabolism-controlling hormones, which causes disruption in metabolism activity, which can cause nerve damage.

          6. Fatigue and Forgetfulness

          Are you feeling down and experiencing a constant lack of energy? A lack of hormones may be the reason. This hurts your brain and neurological functioning and causes sleeplessness, constant tiredness, and fatigue. An underactive thyroid turns your mood down as many bodily functions slow down.

          Are you experiencing symptoms of depression? This may be the time to get your thyroid tested.

          7. Weight Gain/Loss

          You are eating the same foods, in the same amounts, but you are still gaining or losing wait. If you can’t button up the same size pants you were wearing before, or your clothes seem to be falling off you, you may have a thyroid problem that’s throwing your metabolism off.

          This has everything to do with the way your body uses energy. We talked about ATP above. If you’re body isn’t using the energy it’s receiving, you will begin to gain weight. If it’s using too much, you will lose weight[5].

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          The Bottom Line

          If you suspect you may have a thyroid problem, having a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test done will help you boil things down to a clear and accurate result. Blood tests and physical exams will help your doctor determine if you have a problem with your thyroid.  

          If your thyroid reports reveal that you have a problem, you descend into depression or panic. Exercise has proved to be quite effective; besides, you can normalize your thyroid functioning by eating the right foods[6].

          Your doctor will aim to bring your thyroid activity back to a normal pace—not too fast or too slow. You must cooperate with your doctor, as negligence can make the disorder lifelong. Medications are helpful in most cases. Either way, waste no time and get diagnosed early—the faster you’re treated, the better you will recover.

          More on Overcoming a Thyroid Problem

          Featured photo credit: engin akyurt via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Office on Women’s Health: Thyroid Disease
          [2] Penn Medicine: How Thyroid Problems Might Be Hurting Your Sex Life
          [3] Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: The thyroid and the gut
          [4] Boost Thyroid: Basal body temperature and thyroid function
          [5] British Thyroid Foundation: Thyroid and weight – the science
          [6] Bel Marra Health: Hypothyroidism diet: Foods for underactive thyroid

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