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Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Health

You might have already experienced how a night of tossing and turning often leads to a cranky and tiring day ahead. Or, when you get angry or frustrated at the smallest of things, “getting some sleep“ is the most common advice you receive from your friends and family.

These instances are indicative of just how important getting an adequate amount of sleep is for our bodies.

If you end up suffering from sleep deprivation, things can become difficult in terms of your mental and physical functioning. In addition to this, your body might just become the harbor of all sorts of health problems due to a weak immune system.

To help you understand the negative effects of sleep deprivation, we have compiled a list of a few effects that lack of sleep can cause.

Trouble concentrating for longer periods with an impaired memory

The first thing that will be negatively affected when you don’t sleep enough is your concentration and overall mental capacity. You will feel as if you are dragging yourself throughout the day finding it hard to stay alert and focused. Not only will your work productivity become considerably lower, but your personal relationships may suffer as well.

Experts found that when we sleep, our brain tends to “practice“ the skills that we may have learned the day before. This, in turn, helps to boost our memory. Also, a night of deep and comfortable sleep can help to foster the formation of connections between cells. Looks like pulling an all-nighter may not really be helping you pass that test after all.

Sleep deprivation can make way for several serious health problems

While this may sound harsh, you are your biggest enemy if you don’t make a point to get at least eight hours of sleep every day. Trust us when we say that you could not do yourself more harm.

Sleep deprivation or chronic sleep loss can make you more susceptible to serious health issues. You face the risk of increased heart diseases, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, stroke, and even heart failure. In addition to this, experts have found that nearly 90% of people who are suffering from insomnia are already suffering from other health issues.

Your depression and anxiety levels will become higher

One of the most common symptoms of depression is lack of sleep. A research study found that anxiety and depression patients usually got less than six hours of sleep at night.

Let us also not forget that insomnia is also a strong symptom of depression. We can say that insomnia and depression feed off each other. A 2007 study found that people suffering from insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression in comparison to people who didn’t suffer from the disease.

When you get enough sleep, your mind becomes relaxed which helps to invoke a sense of positivity in you. Feeling refreshed can work wonders to make you feel better and less depressed as well.

You may become obese or overweight in a short span of time

Firstly, sleep deprivation makes you feel tired and lethargic which, in turn, makes exercising a nearly impossible task. Secondly, staying awake may also cause you to eat more. All of this can lead to obesity issues.

The lack of sleep may also adversely affect the level of two hormones in our body—leptin and ghrelin. While the former tells your brain that you had enough to eat, the latter hormone acts as an appetite stimulant. Sleep deprivation can disturb the flux of these hormones. This will make you feel hungry, thereby increasing your food consumption and appetite.

Increased resting blood pressure and higher risks of cardiac morbidity

Researchers have concluded that the lack of sleep can increase your blood pressure. Let alone missing adequate sleep for days at a stretch, insufficient sleep for even a single night can spur your blood pressure especially if you are a hypertension or prehypertension patient.

As for cardiac morbidity, you face a higher risk of heart attacks if you aren’t careful with the number of hours you sleep. While an experimental sleep deprivation test on healthy participants was being performed, experts found an increase in inflammation that is linked with the future development of cardiovascular disease among volunteers.

A damaging effect on your endocrine system

The proper secretion of hormones in your body is dependent on your sleep. For example, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted and quality sleep for testosterone production. These three hours of sleep is also the time period of your first REM episode. Irregular sleeping patterns may disturb the overall secretion of hormones in your body.

In addition to testosterone, the growth hormone production, which is responsible for building muscle mass and repairing tissues and cells in our body, can be altered. This is the main reason why teenagers and children should sleep for eight to ten hours every single day.

The release of growth hormones is looked after by the pituitary gland. However, the duties of this gland may be disrupted if you don’t sleep enough. To promote the production of growth hormones, you have to make sure you have a healthy sleeping pattern complete with regular exercise.

Takeaway thoughts

Hopefully, after reading the above sleep deprivation effects, you may be encouraged to make instant changes in your life. Getting sufficient sleep is an important part of your schedule which is absolutely necessary for life sustenance.

The first step that you can take to make sure you have a healthy sleeping pattern is by making your bedroom more comfortable. For this purpose, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.

If you don’t want to buy a new bed or mattress, you can always use a mattress topper to camouflage any lumps in your old mattress. Make sure that the temperatures in your room are also optimal to help you fall asleep better and faster. Sleeping in a room that is too hot or too cold may disrupt your sleep.

 

Resources— PsychCentral, WebMD