What Happens to Your Body if You Don’t Sleep Enough?

You have probably heard many times in your life how important sleep is for basic well-being and functioning. Maybe as a child, your parents or guardians gave you a bedtime to ensure your well-being. However, now, as an adult, you can decide what is best for you. You may spend your nights watching television, finding yourself not going to bed until late in the night. Perhaps you decide working well into the night is how you work best. Whatever the reason may be, it is worth questioning and looking further into whether neglecting sleep is the best decision for you. 

How Does it Affect Your Body?

It is recommended that you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, many Americans do not achieve this. Why is this the recommendation, and why is it so crucial for the body to achieve this specific goal?

Surprisingly enough, lack of sleep is a huge culprit for many devastating occurrences across the world. This is due to the many dangerous, impactful effects that come along with not getting enough sleep. Some of these include:

  • Slower response time
  • Sporadic, inconsistent focus or attention
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings
  • Microsleep (falling asleep without realizing it)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain

Not getting enough sleep each night can drastically affect the way your body functions on a fundamental level in a way that you may not even realize. While ensuring that you are sleeping enough each night may seem redundant at first, when you realize all that sleep does to keep you alive and well, making this a priority can be an excellent thing for your mental and physical health.

How Can it Impact Recovery?

When you are in recovery, you may experience many new challenges as you are learning to take care of yourself. Perhaps you are trying to remain sober, change negative or critical mindsets, or build new habits. Doing any of these things can be difficult when in recovery. In and of itself, recovery is a challenging commitment and journey. When you do not get enough sleep during recovery, you are at high risk of relapsing.

Since being deprived of sleep can cause intense feelings of anxiety, depression, paranoia, distraction, and more, trying to remain focused and committed to your recovery plan becomes sacrificed. Without this necessary sleep, you do not have as much control over your reactions, awareness, and focus. This makes relapsing a very unfortunate possibility if you do not prioritize the amount of sleep you get each night. 

How to Get More Sleep 

By choosing to commit to sleeping more each night, you can better ensure the certainty of your recovery. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep each night is extremely common in our society. However, this does not mean it is impossible to change your sleep schedule. Here are a few ways you can begin to sleep more:

  • Turn off your phone (or other electronics) one hour before bed. The light from your phone can trick your eyes into thinking it is still daytime, making it more difficult for your body to go to sleep.
  • Not consuming caffeine past noon. Consuming caffeine any later than noon allows the caffeine to stay in your body and gives you unwanted energy and alertness when trying to sleep at night. Reframing from consuming it in the afternoon will help to avoid this issue. 
  • Not napping during the day. Napping during the day has the potential to prevent you from being tired enough to fall asleep at night and get a full night’s rest. Even if you feel tired during the day, try to wait until nighttime to satisfy this fatigue.
  • Doing relaxing activities one hour before bed. Doing things to wind down before falling asleep is a great way to get your body ready for bed. Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, and journaling can help send a calming message to your body that it is time to slow down and prepare for sleep.
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day and night. Once you are on a sleep schedule that is dysregulated, it can become challenging to change. However, it is possible to change and commit to a healthier sleeping schedule. When you wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, your body will get used to getting enough sleep each night. This will make it much easier to get more regular sleep without working so hard.

While getting enough sleep each night may not seem important, it is vital to your health. By not sleeping enough each night, you put your mental and physical health at extreme risk. If you are in recovery, these negative effects on your physical and mental health could make relapsing a real possibility. Even though you can do things on your own to improve your sleeping patterns, getting external help can be highly beneficial. Those of us at Rickard Elmore Treatment Strategies want to help you along your recovery journey. At our facility in Newport Beach, California, we have the necessary resources for you to become a healthier, happier version of yourself. Let us assist you by helping you understand more about recovery and finding out what kind of help you need to grow in your recovery. Contact us today at (877) 387-7197 to beginning planning ways in which you can achieve your recovery goals.