Sleep deprivation affects many of us—but just how damaging can it be? Without the proper amount of restorative sleep, your body and mind suffer. In this article, we outline possible ways lack of sleep affects your overall well-being.
You Will Get Sick Often
Sleeplessness weakens the immune system, making it more likely for you to become ill. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have ample time to repair itself; and is unable to fight off germs and bacteria, which means that you’re more susceptible to frequent illnesses such as colds and flu.
You’re More Likely to Gain Weight
Sleep deprivation causes increased hunger and cravings for unhealthy food. The less sleep you get, the more your body is likely to crave high-calorie foods that are not good for you. It’s also been linked to reduced physical activity levels, as lack of energy makes it harder to exercise or make healthier decisions.
You’ll Age Faster
Adequate sleep helps to produce the human growth hormone, which keeps your skin looking young and healthy. When you don’t sleep well, the growth hormone isn’t replenished. Also, your body produces more Cortisol, which is a stress hormone. This stress hormone makes your skin age faster.
Stress activates your fight-or-flight response, making you more vulnerable to emotions that wouldn’t usually affect you. You are more likely to become easily frustrated and angry, which can lead to unnecessary conflict and stress. Moreover, lack of sleep affects the hippocampus (part of your brain) responsible for regulating emotions. This leads to mood swings and depressive episodes.
You Have Trouble Concentrating
Sleep consolidates memories and allows your brain to process information. When you’re tired, it is harder for you to focus because your brain can’t work efficiently. Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal cognitive performance.
You’re More Accident-prone
When you are deprived of sleep, you have a higher risk of getting into accidents. This risk increases because insufficient sleep can impair coordination and reaction time as your brain is not functioning optimally. Proper rest is necessary for your health and to keep you alert and safe.
You May Be at Risk for Heart Disease
Studies have linked sleep deprivation with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Not getting enough rest can lead to higher blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and high cholesterol levels – all of which put you at greater risk for heart disease.
You May Be at Risk for Depression
Sleep deficiency causes your body to produce less Serotonin, the happiness hormone. Also, it causes a spike in Cortisol production which leads to stress overload, making you unable to efficiently tackle everyday challenges. These hormonal changes affect your brain chemistry and trigger depressive episodes if not addressed timely.
You’re Always Tired
A lack of vital rest causes your body to run on low energy reserves, making you exhausted. This fatigue can cause havoc in your personal life and work, leading to lower productivity and strain on relationships. Also, it could spiral into chronic fatigue syndrome or depression if left unchecked.
You’ll Be Less Productive
The combination of depression, fatigue, and a lack of motivation can lead to you being unable to complete tasks the way they need to be done. This is especially hazardous if you’re employed at a job that requires precise work or working on tight deadlines. Even minor mistakes can have costly consequences for yourself and your employer.
Increase in Appetite
Sleep shortage stimulates your appetite hormones and increases cravings. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Plus, excessive fatigue can also cause dizziness and lightheadedness which decrease your ability to stay active or exercise regularly, leading to more weight gain.
Poor Physical Health
Long-term sleep dearth has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases that can lead to death. Getting quality sleep is essential for promoting physical health, as it helps control blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Good sleep also helps your body to repair and restore itself, enhancing vitality and freshness.
Rest deficit reduces energy and motivation, which affects your libido. It also causes hormonal imbalances, which leads to decreased interest in intimacy. For you to maintain a healthy relationship, get enough quality sleep.
Increased Risk Appetite
Without ample sleep, you are more likely to take risks with consequences. You may consider it right to eat unhealthy food or overindulge in alcohol, which can be detrimental to your health.
Insomnia leads to difficulty expressing emotions, which can strain relationships. You might be too exhausted to cater to your partner’s needs, decreasing closeness and satisfaction. Get as much sleep as necessary to maintain healthy relationships with your friends, family, and partner.
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This article was produced on Health Makes You.