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Every time I teach a class on sleep, I always start with discussing why sleep is important, or what lack of sleep can lead to. It’s almost as if I’m trying to talk people into making sure that their children are getting the proper amount of sleep. There are so many reasons why sleep is important at every age. It plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect one’s physical and mental health. But chronic sleep deprivation can have many consequences. I’m going to discuss 5 negative effects of lack of sleep here.

1. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and even obesity. Regularly skimping on sleep can increase hunger and appetite. When we feel sleepy we often make unhealthy food choices. We also may not have enough energy to exercise.

2. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, frustration, moodiness, and emotional problems. The way we feel while we are awake depends in part on what happens while we are sleeping. Sleep and mood are closely connected. Poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. We need sleep to feel our best!

3. Lack of sleep can lead to aggressive behaviors. Some research has shown a correlation between aggressive/bullying behaviors to kids who get poor quality sleep at night.

4. Lack of sleep can lead to depression. It’s the whole chicken and egg thing. Does the depression lead to sleep loss or does the sleep loss lead to depression? Regardless, getting a good amount of sleep is considered vital in treating depression effectively.

5. Lack of sleep can lead to a decreased capacity for memory, attention, learning, and reasoning. In other words, it slows down your mind. Even just one night of insufficient sleep can impact your alertness and negatively affect your mental development. During sleep, the things you have learned during the day are believed to be organized in your mind properly for future access. If you don’t get enough sleep you may have trouble remembering what you learned.

And these are just some of the reasons why sleep is a cornerstone of our physical and mental health. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep because you have a child who is not sleeping well, contact me to discuss how I can help! Contact Tara!