If you don’t get enough sleep

There are quite a few people who don’t sleep enough. On the one hand, it is temporary if you have to do something specific that does not fit into the daily pattern and on the other hand, there is the man or woman who sleeps too little for a long time, with or without explanation. Prolonged sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, because the body’s recovery cannot be completed. Finding out and tackling it, if you want to function well, that is the only option.

Why sleep?

Sleeping is nothing more or less than letting the body rest and recover, before starting the daily ritual again the next day. Your body goes into reserve mode, as it were, your heart rate and breathing decrease and your brain waves slow down. Your body relaxes because most muscles can relax. All those stimuli and activities of the day are excluded by reduced consciousness and you need to recover. This does not mean that you are completely unconscious at that moment, after all, your brain remains active at a different level and that of course also applies to your heart muscle.
It is therefore logical that if you do not get enough sleep for a long time, it can have both physical and psychological consequences. Loss of concentration can occur relatively quickly, but your reaction time also decreases quickly. Furthermore, it is personal what you will first notice when experiencing sleep deprivation.

Sleeping, technically

Technically you have 5 sleep cycles, each lasting about 1.5 to 2 hours. You go through the sleep cycle several times a night. In optimal form this is 4 to 5 times.

  • NREM1, phase 1: This is the moment you transition from waking to sleeping.
  • NREM2, phase 2: This is where your real sleep begins.
  • NREM3, phase 3: This is where your deep sleep begins.
  • NREM4, phase 4: You continue in your deep sleep.
  • NREM5, phase 5: This is the well-known REM sleep, your dream sleep.

Once you have completed phase 5, it starts all over again. Some people really wake up for a moment, but most people do not consciously experience this moment.

When do you sleep enough?

That’s hard to say, because it’s different for everyone. On average, adults sleep about 7 to 8 hours, which is sufficient for many people. But if you also feel fit during the day with just 5 hours of sleep, then that is sufficient. Or in other words, how you feel during the day determines to what extent the sleep you get is sufficient. Of course, quantitative and qualitative play a role together. If you do not feel optimal during the day, this may be due to a lack of sleep. Just think of young families where the baby cries at night, and you can be a broken person in the morning for the simple reason that you are not rested during the night. This is usually manageable for a short period of time, but if it lasts longer you become weaker and you have to do something to continue functioning.

Are you not getting enough sleep?

The previous example is one that is recognizable to many people and that makes it easier to tackle the cause. Alternate with your partner, sleep during the day when the baby is back in bed or hire someone to take over certain hours. Think of the au pair. It becomes more difficult if there is no immediately demonstrable reason, because then the cause is not clear and therefore cannot be addressed immediately. You have already tried the well-known things to sleep well, such as a well-ventilated room, fresh bedding, a glass of warm milk before going to sleep or a walk before going to sleep, and yet you sleep poorly.

Source: Stokpic, Pixabay

Women during the fertile period
Poor sleep is more common in women and is related to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle. Quite a few women sleep a little worse (or at least a little more restlessly) just before menstruation, this is due to the drop in progesterone.

Find out the cause

It is of course a very personal matter to determine the cause of your sleep disorder. First there are the primary causes. These cannot be directly related to physical or psychological complaints. Think of parasomnias, such as nightmares, teeth grinding or the sleepwalker. In addition, you have dyssomnias and it concerns the quality of sleep and you should think about sleep apnea, waking up regularly or having difficulty falling asleep anyway. The secondary causes can be related to psychological problems such as anxiety and depression or physical problems such as shortness of breath, thyroid problems, diabetes, etc.

First find out, then tackle it

It is one thing to determine the cause of your poor sleep, but it is equally important to then concretely tackle that cause. Where tackling means solving and not ending up in symptomatic remedies, such as tablets. They are always addictive substances, so they can ultimately cause other problems. Sometimes it is a chicken and egg situation, because poor sleep means you can no longer function properly and you are unable to tackle the cause. Then taking tablets for a few days may be a solution. But only in consultation with the doctor.
In addition, there are more alternative methods that can be very effective. For example, there are certain massages that relax the body and mind or natural remedies (drops, tablets) that can address the cause. All this of course depends on the cause and remember that with homeopathic remedies it sometimes gets worse first and then resolves. These processes are of course also in consultation with the homeopath.


Good sleep is essential to function normally during the day. This also means that if you suffer from lack of sleep, you don’t have to wait too long to tackle it. It varies per person how long you can go without quality sleep, but waiting in the hope that it will go away is usually not advisable. Moreover, you run the risk of ending up in a vicious circle due to the extra focus. If you can’t figure it out yourself, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.

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