A couple of days ago I blogged news regarding the impact that sleep deprivation can have on eating behaviours, and how it's a multi-faceted process (biological, psychological, and social). Today I am going to go a little broader, looking at how sleep can impact other aspects of life. This will not be an in-depth analysis of the research, just a summary of some the research that has come out over the past few years. Starting off with a further discussion on Sleep & Obesity, followed by a look at how sleep may impact the pain experience, then how sleep may be related to chronic illnesses in later life, and how sleep can affect memory and learning processes. I hope you find some of this interesting!
Sleep & Obesity
The last study mentioned crosses over with the sleep and chronic illnesses discussed below. It is inevitable as many aspects of life are intertwined.
Sleep & Pain
Sleep & Chronic Illness
Sleep, Memory, & Learning
The summary above demonstrates the importance of sleep. I have not heavily referenced the works as this is not intended for a scientific audience, but more as an informal and hopefully interesting article. I also avoided a critique of the articles and have taken them on face value to provide a summary. There are many cross-overs within the studies highlighting how sleep deprivation can impact upon cardiovascular health, could increase the risk of chronic illness (including neurodegenerative diseases), and can impact things more immediately, such as work and test performance.
If you're struggling to get through those exams at work, you may want to do a sleep diary. Similarly if you're struggling with other goals, such as diet or exercise. If you are finding it difficult to make any changes and think your sleep is negatively impacting your life then it may be worth considering some sessions with a psychologist, or a visit to your GP.
I'm a doctor of psychology, born in Guernsey, educated at a tertiary level in Bristol, Bath, and London. Having worked and trained with some of the leading Health Psychologists in the UK, and having a passion about how Health Psychology can truly benefit many people, I now want to spread the word, as well as offer consultations to people wanting to make changes in their lives.