Think you get enough quality sleep? Even if you think you sleep the recommended eight hours, that might not all be quality sleep and it might not be the “right” amount for you. Those eight hours are an average of what’s required by people, and your number might be more or less. Plus, just because you don’t wake fully during the night doesn’t mean all of those hours were high quality. Americans are chronically fatigued and the side effects are brutal.
Whether you need to address sleep apnea with a CPAP machine or simply need to practice better sleep hygiene, prioritizing quality rest is crucial. The impact is more serious than just feeling groggy. In fact, lack of quality sleep in the long-term can lead to serious health issues. Here are a few ways poor sleep might be ruining your life and you don’t even realize it:
- Poor immune system
Without proper sleep, your immune system can’t do it’s job. This means you’re more vulnerable to every disease and infection that comes your way. Check out Harvard’s tips on improving your immune system, but remember that better sleep is often one of the easiest and most accessible tools. This becomes even more important as people age.
- Lack of mental alertness
Maybe you would have received that promotion, had the ability to win at trivia night or been a better date with that perfect match if you were more mentally alert. You can train your brain just like your body with tips from WebMD, but no mental workout will be much help if you’re not able to process them.
- You look worse for wear
Not only do you “look tired” when you don’t get quality sleep, you’re also more prone to brittle hair and nails, wrinkles, red eyes and poor posture. Basically, you’re not going to be getting many compliments (or dates if that’s your goal) if you don’t put sleep as a priority. It’s the best beauty tool in your arsenal, and it’s free, so use it.
- You don’t have enough “energy hours”
Everyone has the same hours in the day, but the quality of those hours can vary drastically. If you’re too tired to meet up for happy hour, take that evening yoga class or be alert during your child’s recital, you’re missing out on life. You need quality sleep to re-boot, and if you opt out then you’ll burn out.