It’s 3 a.m. and you’re still counting sheep. When was the last time you had eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night? Do you still know how it feels to wake up and feel truly refreshed?
Quality sleep has become a luxury amid our fast-paced lifestyle. There’s just so much to do with too little time. Sleep deprivation, sadly, is the norm. Without a doubt, not getting enough sleep each night makes for a rough day and can spell disaster in the long run if it becomes habitual.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School warns that in the short term, insufficient sleep can “affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injuries.” Long-term sleep deprivation has grimmer consequences—obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and [gulp] premature death.
The repercussions of sleep deprivation go beyond irritability and sluggishness. A recent study suggests that seven nights of insufficient sleep can lead to more than 700 genetic changes.
Dr. Colin Smith, a professor at the University of Surrey, warns, “Clearly, sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds…