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6 Ways Lack Of Sleep Is Destroying Your Life

6 Ways Lack Of Sleep Is Destroying Your Life

We all know that horrible feeling that comes from lack of sleep. We’re grumpy, sluggish, foggy and completely uninterested in whatever we’re doing that particular day. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that lack of sleep can have an enormous impact on your life and not a positive one.

Here’s six reasons why you should get between 8 hours’ sleep a night.

1. Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Serious Health Problems

Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

According to some estimates, 90 percent of people with insomnia (sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling and staying asleep) will also have another health condition.

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2. Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Depression

This happens over time with chronic lack of sleep, lack of sleep. In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.

The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without.

Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

3. Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain

Lack of sleep can increase hunger, increase your appetite and even be linked to obesity. A study in 2004 showed that those who got less than 6 hours’sleep a night were 30% more like to become obese compared to those who got 8-9 hours’.

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Ghrelin is the chemical that stimulates appetite and Leptin is the chemical that suppresses it. Recent research shows lack of sleep causes the body to increase the production of Ghrelin and decrease the production of Leptin.

Hanger caused by lack of sleeptriggers cravings for high-fat foods, making it even more likely you’ll gain weight.

4. Lack Of Sleep Can Age Your Skin

We’re all familiar to the puffy, red eyes and sallow skin look that comes from a few missed or bad nights of sleep. For those who suffer from chronic sleep loss they can expect to get dark circles and fine lines around the eyes and lackluster skin too. This all happens because the body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol, when you’re tired. In excess amounts cortisol can break down collagen in your skin. (That’s the stuff that keeps your face smooth and elastic.)

5. Lack Of Sleep Can Harm Your Productivity

We all find it hard to work when we’re tired but could you imagine working never having a good night’s sleep or no sleep at all?

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Lack of sleep causes us to lose concentration and interest in tasks very quickly. Our ability to focus is nearly non-existent and resilience doesn’t seem to show up at all.

This can have a serious impact on productivity and quality of work. This will lead to an increase in stress levels, being nagged at by co-workers for making mistakes, which will subsequently lead to you not liking your job. This in turn will also have a negative impact on your productivity.

6. Sleepiness Causes Accidents

It’s hard to believe that lack of sleep can cause serious and sometimes fatal accidents. Lack of sleep is a huge public safety hazard on the roads, hence the laws outlining how many hours you can drive before you’re legally required to take a break.

According to research done by ‘The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (RoSPA) up to 20 percent of accidents involving automobiles were caused by driver fatigue and also accounted for up to 25 percent of all fatal and serious accidents.

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Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as that of a drunk driver. Those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as those with chronic sleep loss, are 6-15 times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than those who don’t.

Studies also show that sleep loss and poor quality sleep can also lead to accidents and injuries at work and on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work related accidents and they also had more sick days per accident.

It’s extremely important to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night. If you suffer from lack of sleep or can’t sleep properly you should consult your doctor to see if they can help. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference sleep can make to your life and you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it. So make sure you try and get those 8hours a night!

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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