At first glance, the effects of sleep insomnia may not seem all that severe. A few yawns, overall grogginess, and irritability aren’t ideal by any means, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Or so we think.
For centuries, deliberate sleep deprivation has been used as a means of torture, either to extract information or inflict pain.
Though it might sound tame and maybe even a little far-fetched to define lack of sleep as torturous, the reality is sleep insomnia can have devastating short-term and long-term effects on your health. Historically, those who underwent forced sleep deprivation experienced severe hallucinations, eventually leading to psychiatric disorders and other health problems.
Poor sleep patterns can become a habit, one that comes with many consequences. The good news is you can improve the quality of your sleep with some tricks, such as investing in a heavy blanket, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, and guided sleep meditation.
But to understand why restful sleep is essential to your well-being, let’s look at some of the dangers of sleep insomnia.
What are the Effects of Long-Term Sleep Insomnia?
Mental Health Problems
Your brain can’t function at its optimal level when you’re suffering from lack of sleep symptoms. Even if you only have trouble sleeping from time to time, you may have noticed the emotional impacts. You’re crankier than usual, minor things set you off, and every little thing grates on your nerves.
Over a period of time, these effects can snowball into serious mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more.
Memory Loss and Lack of Concentration
Poor quality sleep can impair your ability to remember things and focus on specific tasks. Just think back to a time when you pulled an all-nighter and went to class or work. You were likely unable to string together a coherent sentence while speaking, let alone do anything that required serious brainpower.
In the long term, this brain fog can interfere with your ability to make sound decisions and even lead to serious accidents.
Weakens Immune System
There’s a reason why the doctor tells you to stay in bed and get some rest when you’re sick. Sleep insomnia can lower the body’s immunity, making you more susceptible to illnesses, such as the common cold.
As a result, practicing healthy sleep habits and getting adequate sleep is essential to boost your immune system and ward off diseases.
How to Improve Quality of Sleep
You don’t have to live with sleep insomnia and brave the consequences forever. Here are some tips to lock in a restful night’s sleep.
Limit Naps During the Day
When you’re sleep-deprived, it can be tempting to take a nap or two during the day to catch up on lost sleep.
Naps can provide a boost of energy, but only if it lasts between 20 to 30 minutes. Taking multiple naps throughout the day or napping for hours can actually be counterproductive because it makes you feel groggier.
Not only that, but it can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, which leads to a vicious cycle of napping longer during the day and staying awake at night.
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Forcing yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day might not come naturally.
But sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is one of the most effective ways to combat sleep insomnia because it regulates your sleep-wake cycle and trains you to wake up at the same time every day.
Even on the weekends, commit to the same routine and allow yourself to sleep in for no longer than an hour. The first few weeks might be difficult, but over time, you’ll find yourself sticking to the schedule without so much as a second thought.
Invest in High-Quality Bedding
More often than not, the culprit behind your sleepless nights is a squeaky old mattress. According to Real Simple, making an investment in a high-quality mattress isn’t just better for sleep, but it’s also essential for your overall health.
For maximum comfort, invest in a memory foam mattress that’s designed to alleviate aches and pains. The best memory foam mattress also reduces the transfer of motion, which means you’ll be able to sleep soundly even if your partner gets out of bed in the middle of the night.
A weighted blanket is another good solution for sleepless nights. The gentle pressure provided by weighted blankets stimulates the feeling of a hug, which can help you fall and stay asleep longer. To ensure you don’t run hot during the night, invest in a cool weighted blanket.
Relax Before Bed
Maybe you’ve had a stressful day and maybe you haven’t. Either way, it’s important to make time for yourself at the end of each night.
Often, the things that keep us up until the crack of dawn are our own anxieties and racing thoughts we can’t slow down. Despite the war waging in your head, you can still get a sound night’s sleep by making a calming routine for yourself.
Do whatever you need to unwind and put the day behind you, whether that’s writing down your worries, trying a guided sleep meditation, listening to some soothing sleep music, or even just taking a bubble bath before bed. Sleep insomnia can be difficult to deal with, and if left untreated, could have a detrimental impact on your health. But you can take some small steps to combat it, such as investing in a top-rated mattress and creating a nighttime pamper routine.
While everyone suffers from sleeplessness from time to time, consider consulting a sleep specialist if your sleep insomnia persists.