Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation has a lot of effects like feeling grumpy and not being able to work at your best. But aside from those effects, did you know that lack of sleep can also affect your health in the long run? Most of us who suffer from lack of sleep blame stress, computers, and taking some work home often. However, the cost of all the sleepless nights we have is more than just feeling grumpy and lack of focus. Today, we are going to share with you the effects of lack of sleep on your health.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Did you know that sleep deprivation can put you at risk of serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity? Yes, and it can also shorten people’s life expectancy. Here are the effects of lack of sleep on your health.
During our sleep, our brains form connections that help us process and remember new information. Meaning, lack of sleep can negatively impact both of our short- and long-term memories.
Thinking and Concentration Troubles
Sleeping plays an important role in thinking and learning. This means that lack of sleep can negatively affect these cognitive processes in many ways. It impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving, making it difficult for you to learn efficiently. This is the reason why people’s concentration, creativity, and problem-solving skills are not up to par when they do not get enough rest.
Changes in Mood
Lack of sleep can also make you moody, emotional, and quick-tempered. If you have chronic sleep deprivation, it can greatly affect your mood and lead to anxiety and depression, which may escalate. In 2005, there was a Sleep in America poll that was held where the people diagnosed with depression and anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night. When lack of sleep aggravates the symptoms of depression, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
When you lack sleep, your immune system’s defense against viruses such as those which fight flu and common cold might weaken. This means that you’re more likely to get sick when you get exposed to those viruses.
Risk for Diabetes
Your body’s release of insulin can also be affected by lack of sleep. Insulin is a sugar-lowering hormone. It means that people who are sleep deprived have higher blood sugar levels and they also have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Risk of Heart Disease
Lack of sleep can also lead to increased blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals linked to inflammation. These can both play roles in the risk of having heart disease.
Lack of sleep can also affect your balance and coordination. This can make you more prone to falls and other physical accidents.
When you are sleep deprived, the chemicals that signal your brain that you’re full become off balance. Therefore, you are more likely to overindulge even when you’ve had enough to eat, leading to weight gain and obesity if not controlled.
Aging of Skin
Lack of sleep can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. This is because when you do not sleep enough, the body tends to release more stress hormone cortisol. Excessive amounts of this stress hormone can break down your skin collagen which is responsible for keeping your skin smooth and elastic.
Can Kill Sex Drive
According to sleep specialists, sleep-deprived men and women have lower libidos and less interest in sex because of their depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension.
Can Cause Accidents
Did you know that lack of sleep was a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history? Yes, and some of those disasters were the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl to name a few.
Lack of sleep is a big public safety hazard every day on the road as well. It’s because drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. It can also lead to accidents and injuries on the job.
These are some of the negative effects of sleep deprivation on your health. If you do not want to experience these effects, then getting more sleep us the only way to compensate for your sleepless nights. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, keep in mind that recovering will not happen in a single early night. It may take several weeks. Also, try not to rely on caffeine and energy drinks because they may boost your energy and concentration for a while, but they can also disrupt your sleep patterns in the long term.
If you are having troubles with getting a good night’s sleep, you can check out our post on How to Improve Your Nights Rest for some tips that you can try.