Sleep is one of the three pillars of health, with the medical understanding that sleep is of equal importance to two other key aspects of health: adequate nutrition and regular exercise. In BuzzFeed’s newest video, “How Does Sleep Affect Your Face?” four men and women describe their sleeping habits and then undergo a transformation that ultimately changes their mind on making sleep a priority.

In the video, the participants report clocking between three to five hours of sleep each night, which, according to the National Sleep Foundation, doesn’t cut it because adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep. With nearly 30 percent of Americans sleep deprived, it’s important to raise awareness on, not only how it can affect your appearance, but also how it affects your day-to-day life and long-term health consequences.

Chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slower reflexes, poor concentration, and increased risk of car accidents. Long-term problems, which pose more severe health consequences, include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and weight gain. Between 50 and 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders, according to the National Sleep Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization established in 1990 to collect and educate sleep research for the general public.

Following closely behind was the 1993 opening of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, a branch within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The center was established to fill the demand for research funding for a growing population of Americans living with sleep problems and disorders, according to Harvard School of Sleep Medicine. The demands and expectations of today’s society coupled with the inundation of technology have sucked the life out of us and our time, which is why more than ever people try to make up for those demands by cutting back on sleep.

Chronic sleep disorders can be anywhere from insomnia, which is oftentimes caused by stress, to obstructive sleep apnea caused by excessive weight gain. This means losing sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actively choosing to cut back on time under the covers, but it could be something biologically off kilter that’s ruining your sleep hygiene.

A simple sleep study is performed on patients to monitor their muscle tone, leg movements, airflow, chest and abdominal movements, oxygen levels, brain waves and blood pressure. Patients sleep in a center monitored throughout the night with video cameras for eight to 12 hours, depending how long they stay asleep with almost two dozen electrodes strewn across their body with belts to measure breathing all while being watched throughout the night by video cameras.

Achieve Better Sleep With These Tips:

  1. Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on the weekend.
  2. Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine for your body to adjust to, which gives it the cue it’s time for bed. Do this by soaking in a hot bath, listening to soothing music, or practicing yoga. No video games, television, or cell phone within the hour before bedtime.
  3. Create a sleep-friendly room: dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool with little disturbance.
  4. Eat a balanced dinner three to four hours before you begin your sleep routine. Also, make sure to exercise regularly to help the body maintain a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.