Written by Nancy Kirk
January 10, 2024
As we step into 2024, you may have set health-related goals for the year ahead. Whether you want to build more strength or run a 10K, there’s an essential part of wellness which is too often overlooked: Quality sleep!
Sleep is crucial to your mental and physical health, and should be prioritized. Restful sleep allows you to make healthier diet choices, feel energized at the gym, and enjoy calmer moods. Studies have found those who get better sleep typically report improved life satisfaction.
On the other hand, poor sleep can cause you to feel heavy, unfocused, and sluggish. It can lead to junk cravings, weight gain, relationship issues, and low motivation. Essentially, poor sleep can negatively affect your entire life, from your weight to your career, and beyond.
How Sleep Impacts:
Diet and Weight
Research consistently shows a relationship between sleep and dietary habits. Inadequate sleep disrupts your hormonal balance, including hormones that regulate appetite. Sleep deprivation often leads to increased ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreased leptin (the hormone that signals fullness). This can increase cravings for high-calorie foods, especially those with sugar and carbohydrates.
One review of 20 research studies involving 300,000 people found that adults who slept less than 7 hours per night had a 41% higher risk of obesity.1 This means getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night can lead to easier weight management.
Quality sleep is the unsung hero of athletic performance. For one, it helps increase your energy levels, allowing you to experience enhanced endurance. Plus, sleep plays a pivotal role in muscle recovery and even reduces risk of injury during physical activity.
Sleep deprivation affects decision-making skills, cognitive function, and workplace performance. Many studies show a relationship between insufficient sleep and decreased work productivity. Quality sleep is an investment in your career success. So if you have any work-related goals this year, such as a promotion or raise, quality sleep is crucial.
Your quality of sleep affects your relationships with family and friends. Poor sleep can lead to irritability, stress, and mood swings. Restful sleep can improve your emotional stability and communication skills. This leads to better relationships.
While irritability is less than ideal, poor sleep can lead to more serious mental health issues as well, like depression and anxiety. This is because sleep deprivation disrupts your body’s ability to regulate moods. It can cause an imbalance of your “happy hormones” such as serotonin and dopamine.
The Serious Side Effects of Poor Sleep
Proper sleep isn't merely about hours logged in bed. It's about the quality of sleep you get every night. Poor sleep can lead to a slower metabolism and a lowered immune system. It can even increase your risk of disease and getting into traffic accidents. Your health should never suffer due to poor quality sleep.
Contributing factors to poor sleep quality include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Poor sleep habits (such as irregular bedtimes, and excessive phone use or caffeine consumption)
- Uncomfortable sleeping environments
- Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, sleepwalking, or narcolepsy
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a prevalent yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder characterized by breathing interruptions during sleep. Signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Irritability or mood swings
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we strongly encourage you to get tested for sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to severe health issues, like stroke and heart disease.
The good news is, getting tested doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive, or uncomfortable. In fact, it’s never been easier to get tested with Lofta’s at-home sleep test, which gets delivered straight to your door.
Our streamlined program is designed to make your life as easy as possible, including our the Lofta Care team, which helps you through every step of the way on your sleep apnea journey.
Better, more restful sleep (and the improved overall health that comes with it) is just around the corner.
At Lofta, we’re here to help. Get tested for sleep apnea today.