Do you like staying very late at night? Probably enjoying some late night shows? Or, doing something from work? Maybe you are online… playing LAN games with your friends?
Or, perhaps, you simply have a hard time getting to bed. You are probably worried or anxious over a personal matter, or the kids or neighbors may be keeping you awake at all hours.
Or, maybe you are suffering from a medical condition which keeps you from normally snoozing off. If it is the latter, see a doctor very soon.
Intentional or not, sleep deprivation is not good for your health. Sleep deprivation can cause many health problems, including weight gain and impaired brain function.
So if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis, read on to find out the effects of sleep deprivation are to your body.
We hope this will motivate you to take necessary actions to correct your rather unhealthy sleeping habit.
1. Abnormal Increase in Weight and Higher Susceptibility to Diabetes
Sleep deprivation can dramatically increase your weight. That’s because the body has a difficult time processing the protein leptin, which regulates the metabolism and appetite, when it’s kept awake. When your metabolism slow and your food cravings increase, it’s very, very easy to gain weight.
A lack of sleep also makes it difficult for the body to process sugar, which can raise your blood sugar levels. Over time, this can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
2. Increased Stress Levels (Or Susceptibility to Stressors)
Sleep deprivation can make you easily irritated. This is because you are becoming more and more vulnerable to stressors. You get easily irritated or stressed out.
Conversely, the lack of sleep has you feeling stressed out, not only because it’s affecting your everyday life, but because it increases the level of stress hormones in the body.
3. Increased Risk of High Blood Pressure
When stress hormone levels are high (due to lack of sleep), your body is at a higher risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can affect your blood pressure within 24 hours. Imagine that, just 24 hours.
Over the long-term, this can lead to heart disease. So, if you’re getting less than six hours of sleep per night, your chance of developing high blood pressure has greatly increased.
Note that when you already have high blood pressure or is suffering from some kind of heart ailment, make it a point to always sleep for 7 or more hours!
4. Weakened Immune System
Lack of sleep weakens the immune system. You know that when we sleep, our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. It gives the immune system enough time to fight off bad stuff in the body. Unfortunately, when you don’t sleep enough, the immune system weakens over time, making it tougher for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria.
It also makes it harder for your body to produce a fever, which is the body’s natural response to foreign invaders and is its way of fighting off the infection.
5. Sleep Paralysis
Have you experiences waking up but you can’t move your body? Well, this is what we call sleep paralysis.
Naturally, when you sleep, your body goes into lockdown mode to prevent you from acting out your dreams, no matter how much you may want to, your muscles are essentially paralyzed during the REM cycle of sleep. This is sleep paralysis. And this is normal. What isn’t is when you wake up, and still, your body is in a lockdown mode.
If you’re experiencing sleep deprivation, you may be prone to waking up or becoming conscious while your body is still immobilized. The more sleep deprived you are, the more likely it is that hallucinations will accompany these episodes.
6. Increased Irritability
When you’re feeling tired, you’re more likely to get irritated at the smallest things. You’re more likely to go through mood swings and snap at other people including friends, family and co-workers. Irritability can affect your ability to concentrate and your relationships at work and at home. Irritability and stress are significantly correlated. Increased levels of irritability is also connected to increased levels of stress hormones in your body.
7. Poor Quality of Life
Lack of sleep means less energy. You’ll get tired easily. And when you are tired, you basically don’t really have the energy to go anywhere or see anyone.
Unfortunately, you may have to skip out on your company’s outing or miss spending quality time with friends and family, and this can strain your relationships. Staying inside all of the time can give you a mean case of cabin fever and a lack of socialization can have a negative impact on your mental health and may even lead to depression, which is common in people who suffer from sleep deprivation.
8. Impaired Memory and Brain Function
Sleep deprivation can impair many functions of the brain, including how it processes information and how you think, make decisions and how you learn simple tasks. Remember that when we sleep, our brain weeds out unnecessary neural connections and nurture more efficient neural networks. Essentially, the brain cleans and sharpens itself when we sleep.
But when we do not, we are not giving the brain a chance to re-energize, clean, and sharpen. Consequently, a lack of sleep also impairs your memory. During the REM cycle of sleep, the brain consolidates and organizes your memories, so if you aren’t getting enough REM sleep, this can affect your ability to remember.
9. Decreased Alertness
When you’re sleepy, your mind feels foggy and it can be difficult to shake that feeling. That foggy feeling means you’re less alert – up to 32 percent less alert, according to WebMD. This can lead to a decrease in your performance at work or school.
10. Increased Risk of a Car Accident
Because a lack of sleep causes a decrease in your alertness and ability to concentrate, it also affects your ability to make decisions behind the wheel. Many car accidents are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel and many more are caused by drivers who feel tired and sleepy while driving. Drowsiness can also increase your risk of accident at work, at school and even at home.
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. If you are having difficulty sleeping, find ways to ease that difficulty. It’s not an excuse not to sleep. You have to work for it if you find it difficult to snooze off. Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. Remember that.
The Huffington Post. (2013). 8 Scary Effects Of Getting Too Little Sleep. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/scary-sleep-deprivation-effects_n_2807026.html [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].
Mercola.com. (2017). What Happens in Your Body When You’re Sleep Deprived?. [online] Available at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/03/sleep-deprivation-effects.aspx [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].
Science, L. (2015). The Spooky Effects of Sleep Deprivation. [online] Live Science. Available at: http://www.livescience.com/52592-spooky-effects-sleep-deprivation.html [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].
Nhs.uk. (2017). Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].
WebMD. (2017). Sleep Loss: 10 Surprising Effects. [online] WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].
Healthline. (2017). Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Body. [online] Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body [Accessed 15 Apr. 2017].