Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and repair, especially after an active day. For example, if you do a grueling workout or take a hot Pilates class, your body will be drained or depleted. In order to properly recover, you will need a healthy meal, water, and proper sleep.

Sleep is one of the best ways to help body recover. Sleeping allows your body to repair, rebuild, and recover the muscles you worked out the day prior. With a good night’s rest, you will feel rested and recovered so you will have enough energy to function throughout the next day. But what if you don't get a restful night of sleep?

This article is going to discuss the benefits of proper sleep, how much you need to sleep, and what poor or inadequate sleep entails. Join us in helping you find out what proper sleep is and how it will help you in the future.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Doctors have studied sleep for decades, researching what sleep quality entails, what it means to get enough sleep, what happens when one is sleep deprived. Many researchers recommend   that for adequate rest and recovery, you should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This is enough sleep to achieve a  full REM cycle. REM is the deepest stage of sleep you can achieve and the state in which your body will be able to repair muscles and restore energy.

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is very important for your body. If your body is used to going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, you will experience deeper sleep during the night and be more rested the following day. Getting a good night's sleep is incredibly important. With quality sleep, you can avoid sleep deprivation and improve your quality of life.

What is Considered Poor Sleep?

Poor sleep refers to a pattern of sleep that is insufficient, disrupted, or of low quality. It can result from various factors including inadequate duration of sleep, frequent awakenings, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or sleeping at inappropriate times. While occasional nights of poor sleep can happen commonly, chronic sleep deprivation can have a significant, negative impact on our physical and mental well-being.

If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, if you wake up during the night more than once, or if it takes you longer than 20 minutes to drift back asleep after waking up, your sleep quality is considered poor. You are likely to feel tired the next day, even if you get the recommended total number of sleep hours. It is important to note that there are some individual and age differences in these factors. For example, it’s common to wake up more frequently during the night as we get older. 

What Happens If I'm Sleep Deprived?

Being sleep deprived means you are not getting enough sleep during the night. You could be experiencing insufficient sleep which would in turn mean that you are not feeling well rested the next day. Sleep deprivation and sleep quality are important lifestyle factors that should be addressed with your doctor. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are more likely to experience health issues over time. 

Sleep deprivation can have numerous negative consequences on our health and daily functioning. When we consistently fail to get enough sleep, our cognitive abilities can become impaired, negatively affecting our memory, concentration, and decision-making skills. Sleep deficits can also lead to increased irritability and mood swings.

Moreover, sleep deprivation can weaken our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and infections. Poor sleep can also contribute to weight gain and metabolic disturbances, as it disrupts the balance of hormones responsible for regulating hunger and satiety. Additionally, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even certain cancers.

Sleep deprivation is becoming more common these days. Many people try to adjust their schedules to get as much done as possible, and end up sacrificing their sleep. Modern day society tends to prioritize productivity and does not emphasize rest and recovery, which are important to living a balanced life.

Sleep deprivation also becomes a greater problem as people grow older. Older adults probably need as much sleep as younger adults, but they typically sleep more lightly. They also sleep for shorter time spans than younger people. It is estimated that half of all people older than 65 have frequent sleeping problems.

Reasons Sleep Deprivation Might Occur:

  • A sleeping disorder
  • Aging
  • Illness
  • Stress

Are there Signs or Symptoms Associated With Sleep Deprivation?

The signs and symptoms associated with sleep deprivation can vary. If one is getting less than six hours of sleep consistently, that can lead to being sleep deprived. If you are not hitting the deep sleep stage regularly you may start to experience symptoms like drowsiness, inability to concentrate, memory problems, diminished physical strength, and poor immune health.

If you continue getting inadequate sleep at night, you may have worsening symptoms. It is very important to decrease your sleep debt and get good sleep quality. Try to aim for more than six hours of sleep to avoid symptoms of sleep deprivation. If you are experiencing significant sleep loss, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • HallucinationsMajor mood swings
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Slower thinking
  • Mood changes

This is why it is extremely important to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Improving your sleep can improve your physical health, mental and emotional well being, and your quality of life.

How Do I Avoid Sleep Deprivation?

There are ways you can avoid going into sleep deprivation on your own without seeing a doctor. One way is to get more than 6 hours of sleep a night and one of the best ways to ensure that you can fall asleep and stay asleep at night is by exercising. It is recommended to work out at least five hours before you intend to go to bed. Try to do a  quick 30-60 minute exercise to help you experience a restful night of sleep.

Another way to regulate your body and let it know it's time for bed is by creating a nightly routine. Our bodies and minds perform best in a routine. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning. 

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, because these substances will only make it harder for you to sleep at night. Not only that but if you do avoid those substances, your sleep duration and quality will increase.

Overall Thoughts on Sufficient Sleep.

The key takeaways from this article are to get around seven to eight hours of sleep a night, strive for high quality sleep by establishing a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid stimulants and alcohol. There are many ways for you to achieve higher quality sleep if that is what you are lacking. Exercise is one important way that is also beneficial for your overall health. If you continue to experience sleep problems, contact your doctor. If you experience sleep deprivation over time, you can experience negative health consequences and getting adequate sleep is important for your health and quality of life.