It’s a well-known fact that sleep is a critical component of good physical and mental health. The health impact of sleep is wide-ranging, affecting how our bodies and minds perform on both a daily and more long-term basis. But many people might not realize specifically how a lack of sleep can affect their mental performance. That’s why our healthcare providers wanted to take some time to answer exactly that.

We recommend for adults to get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. Experiencing a night of poor sleep isn’t anything out of the ordinary. However, consistently tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep (or stay asleep) night after night can begin to impact how your mind functions and can impact your mood, work performance, and even your safety. Sleep deprivation can have the following effects on your brain:

Memory Issues

Sleep is critical to memory. While you sleep, your brain forms connections that are essential for processing and remembering new information. That’s why not getting enough sleep can negatively impact both short and long-term memory.

Erratic Moods

Mood swings can also occur due to a lack of sleep. You can probably remember a day after not getting enough sleep when you felt especially irritable or grouchy. Additionally, not sleeping enough over time can lead to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Lack of Concentration

Your concentration can suffer as well due to not getting the right amount of sleep. This means diminished decision making and problem-solving abilities. Additionally, this lack of concentration can make you more vulnerable to potential accidents including car accidents.

Increased Risk of Dementia

Over a long period of not getting enough sleep, a person’s risk of developing dementia increases. Sleep is essential for keeping your mind sharp and active, especially as you age. In fact, the National Institute of Health has concluded that a lack of sleep leads to an increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re having any issues sleeping, we recommend setting a relaxing nighttime routine and sticking with it. Getting regular exercise every day and minimizing caffeine (especially after the morning), can also promote good sleep habits. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Family Practice Center today. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips, news, practice updates, and more.