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The Many Ways Irregular Sleep Affects Your Health

The Many Ways Irregular Sleep Affects Your Health

When it comes to our health, most people are focused on two things — diet and exercise. While there’s no denying a healthy diet and regular exercise are important, have you ever thought about how sleep (or lack of it) affects your life?

Sleep Plays an Important Role in Your Health

Have you ever wondered why you need to spend nearly a third of your life sleeping? Though the exact reason why we need sleep still remains somewhat of a mystery, many theories suggest that it’s necessary because it gives your body time to recharge and repair itself. Sleep is also vital for brain development, which is why growing infants spend 13 to 14 hours a day sleeping.

How Lack of Sleep Affects You


It’s a classic chicken or the egg dispute: do headaches affect our sleep or is a lack of sleep really the cause of headaches? Though there are arguments for each side, it’s clear that poor sleep can have serious negative effects on how many headaches a person has per month and how intense they are.

If you get headaches at night:

  • Don’t reach for over the counter medications. Many headache medicines have caffeine in them, which will only make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Grab a glass of water. Often, tension headaches are caused by dehydration. Especially if you were very active during the day, there’s a good chance you need to drink more throughout the day.
  • Don’t turn on the TV. When people can’t sleep, their first instinct is to pick up their phone or turn on the TV — not a good idea. Electronics wake your brain up and trick it into thinking it’s time to start the day. Instead, choose an activity that’s tech-free, like reading, writing, or listening to white noise.

Weight Gain

Did you know that sleep deprivation is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity? People who suffer from poor sleep are more likely to be overweight for two reasons: they snack at night because they can’t sleep and/or because irregular sleep affects your metabolism and hunger center.

There’s also a growing amount of research that shows a link between sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, and weight gain. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing or to breathe irregularly throughout the night.

Weakened Immune System

Can a lack of sleep make you sick? New studies suggest, yes! Reports show that people who don’t get regular quality sleep are more likely to become sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how quickly you recover from an infection or illness.

Poor Mental Health

Sleep deprivation affects a lot more than just your physical body — it can also have damaging effects on your psychological state. According to Harvard Medical School, “studies in both adults and children suggest that sleep problems may raise the risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders.”

Catching Up on “Lost Sleep”

In an effort to catch up on their sleep, people who can’t sleep through the night try to catch up on sleep by napping during the day — something we don’t suggest. Contrary to popular belief, naps don’t make up for the sleep you lost the night before — they just prevent you from falling asleep the following night.

A bad night’s rest just once in a while can be problematic, but waking up every day more tired than when you went to bed causes a wide range of problems. Sleep plays a critical role in your ability to function optimally during the day; if this is interrupted enough times over a long enough period, it can negatively affect virtually every major system in your body.


Do you have difficulty sleeping or find yourself feeling unrested in the morning? Give the experts at Valencia Sleep Care Center a call and learn how we can change your life by changing your sleep.