Are you sleep deprived? Here’s how it can affect your overall health

Sleep deprivation can be caused by a range of factors including lifestyle choices, caring for an infant and sleep disorders.

Sleep debt

Not getting enough sleep results in what the National Sleep Foundation calls “a slow accumulation of sleep debt.” Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on brain function, leaving you feeling forgetful or unfocused, which can result in mistakes at work or impaired driving.

The good news is that, according to a Harvard Medical School article, it’s possible to repay your sleep debts. You can add a few hours of sleep to your weekend schedule or take a relaxing, sleep-filled vacation to make up for lost rest. Depending on how much sleep debt you’ve accumulated, it could take a while for you to see the results – but setting clear sleep goals for yourself and tracking your sleep can help you get there.

Immunity and chronic illness

Have you ever noticed that you catch a cold when you haven’t slept well for a while? Lack of sleep causes your body to make fewer cytokines, a molecule that regulates immunity and inflammation. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also linked insufficient sleep to the development chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.

Get better sleep

Good sleep habits have a direct, positive effect on mental, physical and emotional health. Here are some tips from the CDC for a better night’s sleep:

  • Have a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get regular exercise
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and comfortable
  • Limit the use of electronic devices before bed

Sleep is usually the thing we do after we do everything else. To stay healthy, especially during cold and flu season, make sleep a priority and get the recommended hours of sleep for your age group. It can be helpful to track your sleep using and app or journal (visit to get on the waitlist for Nano’s wellness app) to better understand your sleep patterns and where you can improve your routines. Your body will thank you for it!