Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 22 – 2/23/15
You know as well as Bea does that a lack of sleep simply sucks. During perimenopause, along with all those other fun things such as night sweats and hot flashes, insomnia reared its ugly head and made her life very, very unpleasant. Now menopausal (yikes), Bea still suffers from sleepless nights and they wreak havoc on the daylight hours.
This lack of sleep makes her grumpy, fuzzy-brained and isn’t too good for her looks. There’s nothing more annoying than have one of her bright-eyed co-workers starting a conversation with “Boy, you look tired!” Especially if that statement is made every day.
Bea knows she isn’t suffering alone – According to the researchers who study this stuff, at least 40% of Americans don’t get the 7 hours of quality sleep they need to function well (Aschwanden). Many of these insomnia sufferers are women. (Can we create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Maybe we should all get together and start the Middle of the Night Club, since misery loves company).
For those of you who suffer with insomnia like Bea does, you already know that lack of sleep can lead to crabbiness, inability to focus/concentrate, forgetfulness, lack of energy, just to name a few annoyances.
Chronic insomnia, unfortunately, ends up causing more than just minor disturbances in our lives.
- Lack of sleep can cause problems with the functioning of our brains. It affects our brain’s plasticity, by weakening our brain’s ability to make connections between brain cells. This decreases our learning ability. (Evans & Burghardt)
- Lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to viruses and infections by weakening our immune system (Evans & Burghardt)
- In many studies, sleep deprivation has been linked to memory loss and even Alzheimer’s disease (Aschwanden)
- Lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and even earlier death.
- One very recent study has even shown that it can make our brain smaller. Now THAT sounds weird. You can read more in this article from the CNN website.
Bea has been trying to find things that will help her sleep better. In her next post (Wednesday, February 25th) she’ll let you know what she’s found out – by the way, ladies, do you have any “sleep better” suggestions? What’s worked for you?
For Further Reading:
Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep
Interested in visuals?
Check out this cool infographic to see what sleep deprivation does to our brain
Evans, S. PhD, & Burghardt, P., PhD. Brain Fit for Life A User’s Guide to Life Long Brain Health and Fitness. 2008. River Point Publications: Milan, MI
Aschwanden, Christie. Counting Sleep. Prevention Magazine November 2014.