You think you can get by.
Sure, you didn’t sleep much last night – or maybe not at all. But it’s happened before, and you’ve powered through it.
Maybe it even happens often enough you have a plan for when it does. Make a second pot of coffee and knock back mug after mug until you start to feel like yourself again.
And if your day allows it, maybe you’ll be able to sneak in an afternoon nap.
Well, friend, new research reveals that it’s time to find a new plan for dealing with sleep loss. Because it turns out just ONE night of missed sleep can have immediate and potentially devastating consequences.
One night of missed shuteye has a MAJOR impact
Now, of course, we already know missing out on good, quality sleep is harmful to our health. Over time it increases our risk of heart disease, dementia, and more.
But let’s forget those long-term risks for a moment.
Sure, they’re bad. But it’s also easy to tune out the “someday stuff” as something to worry about later. So instead, we’re going to take a look at something a little closer on your timeline.
The new study focuses on how poor sleep can impact you RIGHT NOW at this very moment. Specifically, how even a single night of lost sleep can hit your attention span and what scientists call “place-keeping.”
Place-keeping is super important because it’s the ability to carry out a set of tasks even after being interrupted.
For example, think about driving to the store, but getting stopped and rerouted by construction. Perhaps you’re in the middle of taking your afternoon meds, and someone knocks on the door. Or maybe you’re cooking dinner and the phone rings.
In all of these cases, your ability to get back on track is tested.
The new study – done on volunteers in a sleep lab – finds that just one night of lost sleep…
- DOUBLES place-keeping errors
- TRIPLES lapses in attention
The tragic toll missed sleep can take
That means missed sleep can have tragic consequences. Because there are countless situations where the inability to refocus on a task could harm or even kill.
Imagine being on the operating table with a doctor working on you who is about to experience twice as many place-keeping errors. Or consider the study that found that pilot instrument errors DOUBLE after a single night of missed sleep.
Down here on the ground, sleep deprivation plays a role in one in five traffic accidents. And it can also hit us… hard… in smaller but still significant ways.
You might take one of your meds twice, or not at all. Or you might be more prone to messing up when doing your bills or paying your taxes. It could even cause you to miss important appointments or turn up at the wrong time or place.
And let’s not even think about what a spike in your error rate could mean in the kitchen when you’re handling a hot tray from the oven or slicing up some onions.
So if you’re struggling to sleep, don’t write it off simply because you think you can pour another cup of coffee and get back on track. Take action instead.
One common cause of sleep struggles, especially in older Americans, is low levels of melatonin. The so-called “sleep hormone” helps tell your body when it’s time to shut down for the night. But as you get older, your body makes less of it.
Melatonin is easy to find as a supplement. Look for a spray that will be absorbed faster and take effect quicker.