Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?

May 2014, Xtend-Life Expert


You might think that a sleepless night here and there does little more than leave you feeling tired and reaching for the coffee. In reality, though, the health problems that come from sleepless nights can be pretty alarming.

You might think that a sleepless night here and there does little more than leave you feeling tired and reaching for the coffee. When we don’t sleep – or when we experience restless sleep – the health problems can be pretty alarming. Learn the importance of a good night’s sleep and some tips to help you get a better night’s rest.

Did you know that as many as 64 million Americans (Ref. 1), about 1 in 3 people, regularly experience insomnia for a wide range of reasons? With all that exhaustion in the air, there has never been a better time to take a closer look at the importance of a good night’s sleep.

The big sleep

Every night when we turn in, we give both our body and brain a chance to rest and recover from the day’s events.

We spend one-third of our lives asleep but while we sleep, our bodies are often hard at work. This is particularly the case during REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep, which is when the body rebuilds and repairs muscles, tissues and releases a wide range of hormones (Ref. 2). The other type of sleep is NREM (non-rapid-eye-movement) sleep which is when the body starts to properly rest.

What happens when we don’t sleep?

When we don’t sleep – or when we experience restless sleep – we can miss out on the N3 stage of NREM which is when we get our ‘deep’ or ‘slow-wave’ sleep. Losing out on enough of this not only leaves us feeling grumpy and irritable, it also turns us into walking time bombs.

A lack of adequate sleep can significantly impact our cognitive ability and general motor-skills, leading to an impaired alertness that can compromise our ability to make smart decisions.

It can also affect our immune system (Ref. 1), leaving us more vulnerable to infections, and increase our risk of depression, obesity and diabetes (Ref. 3).

The story behind bad sleep

If you are struggling with poor or interrupted sleep, you may want to address these to prevent disruptions (Ref. 4):

  • Sleep hygiene. A clean bed with fresh sheets can do wonders for a good night’s sleep. Investing in a good mattress and pillow is also a must.
  • Pets in bed. While pets can offer company in bed, they may cause sleep disruptions resulting in a poor night’s sleep.
  • Alcohol before bed. While it might seem that a drink or two helps you fall asleep faster, alcohol tends to disrupt sleep rhythms, so even if you fall asleep quickly, you may wake up a few hours later, and face a struggle falling back to sleep.
  • Eating too close to bedtime. We take around 2 hours to digest our food. When we eat within 2 hours of going to bed, our sleep may be affected as the body is still trying to digest the food you have just eaten.

Tips for a restful, restorative night

There are things we can do to help ourselves fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

1. Routine

Going to bed and getting up at set hours every night (Ref. 1) can make a big difference, experts say, as can skipping naps that may prevent you from falling asleep later. Getting regular exercise, especially vigorous exercise, can also help encourage a good night’s sleep.

2. Maintain your nest

In your bedroom, create a cozy environment that’s conducive to sleep. Keep electronics and TV’s out of the room.

3. Avoid dependencies

While we might be tempted to pop a sleeping pill, dependency is a real issue and the risks are high. Numerous people have reported injuries from driving or other activities they performed while under the influence of prescription sleeping pills when they thought they were asleep.

4. Embrace natural remedies

Some natural sleep aids include warm milk, lean turkey or natural supplements.

Our Neuro-Natural Sleep features multiple ingredients designed to help encourage healthy sleep, including valerian, chamomile, hops and passionflower, along with 45 other ingredients that work in synergy to help promote a calm, restful night. It helps the body get to a place of deep rest and unlike sleeping pills, your body will not become dependent on it over time. Think of it as a sleep regulator, helping you get the sleep your body naturally wants to provide.



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