Getting enough sleep is an integral part of health and wellbeing, especially for dental practitioners and students who may sometimes find themselves working and studying for long hours. Many aspects of our lives can have a profound effect on how we sleep, and it may seem like a normal occurrence not to be getting enough of it. Losing sleep may not seem like a big deal however, especially in prolonged periods, sleep deprivation can have a range of negative effects that go way beyond fatigue or drowsiness.
If you would like to chat to someone about sleep strategies, call our confidential 24/7 support line on 1800 377 700.
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'Sleep hygiene' refers to the strategies you put in place to ensure you develop and maintain good sleep habits, allowing you to have enough quality sleep.
Some basic strategies for ensuring a good night's sleep can include:
- turning off all technology at least one hour before bed, including mobile phones and television
- create a comfortable room and bed to sleep in, dark and quiet rooms promote sleep
- avoiding caffeine four to six hours before going to sleep
- getting fresh air in your bedroom, and
- where possible developing a sleep routine.
When you are trying to keep up with the demands of a busy schedule, cutting back on sleep may feel like your only option but over time even minimal sleep loss can have an impact on your physical health, mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress.
Lack of sleep can affect your judgement, coordination, and reaction times. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours per day.
Read more in the Sleep Health Foundation's fact sheets.
Sleep deprivation — effects
The negative effects of sleep deprivation include:
- fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- moodiness, irritability and increased risk of depression
- relationship problems
- impaired learning and concentration, and memory problems
- reduced creativity, problem-solving skills and difficulty making decisions
- inability to cope with stress and difficulty managing emotions
- premature aging of the skin
- weakened immune system and frequent colds and infections
- weight gain
- impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents, and
- increased risk of serious health problems including stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and certain cancers.
If you are struggling with any of these, you might want to talk to your general practitioner as a starting point.
Read some of our other articles and newsletter on staying healthy:
Our service provides free and confidential support to dental practitioners and students Australia-wide. If you would like to speak to someone call us 24/7 on 1800 377 700 or you can request support via email.
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