By Jennifer Aldrich, March 17, 2021
Another common issue is “poor sleep hygiene,” says Alex Dimitriu, M.D., who’s double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine. “This often results from going to bed at irregular times, or sleeping too much on some days, and then having insomnia on the next,” Dimitriu explains. “I call this the ‘oscillating insomnia pattern,’ because truly there are people who can flip flop between oversleeping and undersleeping.” “Sleep will impact every aspect of our physical and mental health,” Dimitriu says. In the short term, some restless nights can cause mood changes, low energy, and lack of concentration, Avena explains. But there are more problems you could face in the longterm. “Lack of sleep can cause weight gain, immune suppression, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, accelerated aging, and worsening physical appearance or skin quality,” Dimitriu says. “Mentally, lack of sleep can cause memory and attention problems, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, irritability, and diminished mental performance.” What’s worse, numerous individuals have severe sleep loss, but are unable to recognize it. “So many people walk about chronically sleep deprived, and not know it; they assume this is their ‘normal,'” he adds.
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