Sleep is something most of us long to have more of. Whether we toss and turn at night, get to bed too late, or must wake too early, most of us aren’t getting enough. In fact, it is thought that chronic sleep deprivation is one of the most overlooked public health issues in the United States.
Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to things like memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, increased levels of stress hormones in the body, and metabolic disruptions. The good news is that, for most, treating this chronic issue doesn’t require much — it only requires a few adjustments to help us get an extra 60 to 90 minutes of sleep per night on average.
Have you ever asked yourself... how much sleep am I really getting each night? How much should I be getting?
For as long as most of us can remember, the golden rule was to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Eight hours seems to be what most people need to wake up feeling refreshed. However, what if there were more direct benefits to sleep than just feeling well rested? Did you know that there is a powerful relationship between sleep and happiness?
With proper sleep habits, you should quickly find yourself feeling happier, more upbeat, and more productive each day.
What’s the Connection Between Sleep and Happiness?
Let’s look at some of the ways poor sleep impacts your mood and happiness.
Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Throw Off Your Plans
Getting to bed too late one night has the potential to completely throw the rest of your week off.
Why? Well, if you get to bed too late and are exhausted the next day, then chances are you will write off some of that day’s plans and choose to postpone them until some time in the future. Adding more to your plate could easily mean you throw your entire sleep routine out the window the whole week while you are playing catch-up — a vicious cycle. This can lead to increased stress, irritability, anxiety, and of course, exhaustion.
To prevent this, try to make it a habit to get into bed at the same time each night and be strict with it. Don’t let other plans get in the way of you getting a good night’s sleep. Sacrificing sleep is not worth your health and happiness.
A Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Mood Swings
We all know just how terrible it feels to go through a day feeling sleep-deprived. Not getting the sleep we need can lead to increased irritability, mood swings, and a less productive day. It can make it more difficult for us to maintain perspective about minor irritations or major stressors.
On the flip side, getting enough rest allows your body to function at its best and allows your brain to work the way it needs to help you power through your day.
Poor Sleep Habits Can Throw Off Your Healthy Eating Plan
Did you know that not getting enough sleep can directly impact your food choices? If you ever find that you crave the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating when you feel the most fatigued, there’s a good reason for it. Studies clearly show the link between sleep loss and obesity, and a lack of sleep can lead to an increased desire to select foods that can lead to weight gain.
The healthier you are, the happier you are, so you want to do whatever you can to make sure that the food choices you make are healthy ones. Make it a priority to get at least eight hours of sleep per night to set yourself up for success when it comes to nutrition.
Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Cognitive Impairment
Being chronically sleep-deprived can significantly impair memory and decision-making. It may also lead to over-reliance on stimulants such as caffeine, which can also impact your overall mood. Sleep researcher David Dinges, PhD ran experiments and found that participants who got less than eight hours of sleep per night experienced both cognitive and physiological deficits. The longer you go without sleep, the worse memory and cognitive function can become, so it is important to address any sleep issues you may be dealing with right away.
Boosting Your Sleep for Happiness
Now that you know the negative impact lack of sleep can have on the body, it's obvious that getting enough sleep every night can significantly help improve our overall levels of happiness. So many of us are living a less than optimal life due to a lack of sleep. It’s just not worth it.
Make it your goal to get into bed earlier and take the steps that you need to get a better night’s sleep each night. Here are some tips to help you sleep better.
- Set up your room for sleep success by making your bed each morning, putting up some blackout curtains, and keeping it nice and organized.
- Try shutting off electronics two hours before bedtime.
- Don’t go to bed hungry.
- Cut out caffeine later on in the day.
- Avoid any type of intense exercise in the afternoon or evening hours.
- Try a gentle yoga routine to wind down your day.
- Diffuse lavender essential oil to help promote relaxation.
- Sip on herbal tea instead of having a sugary dessert after dinner.
- Read a book if this helps you relax.
- Take a gentle, natural sleep supplement.
Making little changes can lead to huge results when it comes to how well you sleep. Plus, once you develop a successful habit and start sleeping better, you may just find that you start living better too!