Aside from giving you eye bags and making you feel terribly drowsy the following day, sleep deprivation can cause so many other problems. That is why it’s very important for you to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly. Otherwise, you may be suffering from insomnia — a condition wherein you fail to obtain the amount and quality of sleep necessary to make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated the morning after.
Medical authorities say that getting lack of sleep at night is a no-no because it can definitely leave a dent on your health. Here are some of the complications of not getting good quality sleep on a nightly basis:
- Impaired cognitive functioning
- Lowered libido or sex drive
- Premature skin aging
- Weight gain
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack)
- Increased risk of diabetes
As you can see, the least of your concerns when you find it hard to get to sleep nightly are eye bags! If left unchecked, your insomnia can certainly wreak havoc to your life through its various negative effects on the body and mind.
While there are sleeping pills that a doctor may prescribe, taking these drugs does not come without some unfavorable side effects. For instance, taking them can be risky for people with lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) like bronchitis and emphysema. That’s because sleeping pills may cause the breathing of those with these problems to become slower and less deep. Other side effects of taking prescription sleeping pills are:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Excessive gas
- Dryness of the mouth or throat
- Weakness and fatigue
- Mental slowing
- Heartburn or stomach pain
- Burning or tingling sensation in the hands and feet
- Unusual dreams
Did you know that some people are actually allergic to prescription sleeping pills? You may also be one of them if you experience nausea, vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath, hives, rash, skin itchiness, blurred vision, hoarseness, or swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue or throat after taking the sleeping pill your doctor has prescribed.
Luckily, popping a sleeping pill in the mouth is not the only way out of a bout of insomnia because there are plenty of all-natural ways to induce sleep at night. One of the simplest and most effective of them all is the so called “4-7-8” breathing technique. It works so well that you may actually get do dreamland in less than a minute after starting it!
Here’s how this anti-insomnia trick is done:
- Slowly breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds to fill your lungs with air.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds to really empty your lungs.
That’s it! Doing this for a number of times relaxes your mind and body. The “4-7-8” breathing technique helps in lowering your heart rate as well as respiratory rate, preparing you for a good night’s sleep. Because it affects your body in such a relaxing way, doing this breathing method is also effective when you’re stressed, pressured and anxious!
Other than performing the “4-7-8” breathing technique when you’re already in bed, it will also help you fight off nightly sleep deprivation by doing certain helpful things. Some of them include:
- Take a whiff of lavender essential oil.
- Quit drinking coffee and caffeinated beverages after lunch.
- Ditch cigarette smoking.
- Drink herbal teas like valerian and chamomile.
- Make your bedroom cooler, dim the lights and block out noise.
- Avoid exercising 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
- Perform yoga or meditation.
- Steer clear of fatty and oily midnight snacks.