10 Worrying Effects of Sleep Deprivation

I know…Not getting enough sleep is a really horrible feeling.

Anyone who has had a bad night’s sleep knows just how groggy and fatigued you feel the next day, but you might be surprised to learn that lost sleep can cause some serious mental and physical health issues if not addressed as soon as possible.

Making sure that you get enough Zzz’s is massivley important and there are many things you can consider doing to help, like making sure to eat properly or even consider a detox to flush away any poisonous toxins getting in the way of a good nights slumber.

If you are regularly experiencing difficulties sleeping, you might end up dealing with these unpleasant effects…

1. Increased Depression

Though the common stereotype of depression includes sleeping all day, many people with depression actually have trouble sleeping at all.

In some occasions, difficulty sleeping can be directly linked to an increase in feelings of depression.

Sleep disorders and depression are very closely linked because a lack of sleep negatively affects the brain. People with insomnia are ten times as likely to get depression as people who sleep easily, and people with depression are 5 x as likely to develop sleep apnea.

Some people with sleep disorders may develop depression, and people with depression can also develop sleep disorders. Often, treating one of these disorders can help to alleviate the symptoms of the other disorder.

You should also be careful about what you eat, because studies have shown a very close link between what you eat and your mental health

See Also: 7 Best Herbal Teas To Help You Sleep Better

2. Prematurely Aged Skin

When I have trouble sleeping, I often notice dark circles under my eyes that disappear as soon as I get a good night’s rest.

However, a lack of sleep can actually have a more permanent effect by causing wrinkles to develop. According to sleep expert, Dr. Phil Gehrman, (see sources below), the body normally releases growth hormones that signal cells to patch and repair skin damage while we sleep.

Therefore, when you do not sleep, your skin remains damaged instead of healing at a normal rate.

Sleep disorders also cause the body to release excess cortisol, which is the hormone linked to stress, and cortisol can start to break down the collagen proteins that keep skin looking smooth.

Want to know how to keep your skin looking Young & Healthy?

3. Decreased Sex Drive

Not many people are prepared to admit that they have a decreased sex drive.

As it turns out, that there is actually a real, physical change that takes place after consistent sleep deprivation.

A 2002 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that men who had their sleep interrupted consistently from sleep apnea had significantly lower levels of testosterone. Since testosterone is a hormone that stimulates libido in both men and women, low testosterone levels result in a lack of a sex drive.

Many men with sleep problems also end up with erectile dysfunction, which may also be caused by lowered amounts of testosterone.

See Also: Is Sleep Apnea Hereditary?

4. Inability to Remember Things

Memory is a complicated process, but neurological researchers have discovered that sharp wave ripples help the brain to process and store new information.

These oscillating patterns occur while we sleep, and they are responsible for transferring short term memories to long term storage.

Sharp wave ripples happen throughout the entire sleep cycle, but they are much more frequent during the deepest sleep stages.

Therefore, people who have disorders that cause them to sleep lightly and wake up frequently without reaching deep levels of sleep can still face memory difficulties.

5. Severe Health Issues

A lack of sleep can have some serious knock on effects to the rest of your body.

The previous entries mentioned, have spoken about the more esoteric issues of what can happen i.e. things that you can’t readily see.

However sleep deprivation also damages your body in a more visible, physical manner, including:

  • Heart attacks
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity

You might want to consider using a Health Supplement to help your body fight off infection...

6. Impaired Judgement

The ability to accurately assess situations and make wise decisions is definitely important, but not sleeping enough can greatly decrease a person’s judgement.

This poor judgement does not just affect decisions about work or relationships, so it can continue to harm your physical health.

Many sleep specialists note that sleep deprived people begin to underestimate their need for sleep and overestimate their physical abilities.

People start to think that they are in good shape despite the many warning signs, and this impaired judgement can prevent them from seeking the help they need.

7. Lowered Cognition Ability

When you are sleeping, the brain is going through various sleep cycles that help the brain to function properly.

Without enough sleep, you have difficulty thinking logically and remembering things. Lack of sleep also prevents the brain from being able to focus on tasks, create innovative solutions, and reason effectively.

Unfortunately, I learned about this the hard way back in school; when I realized that staying up late to study for a test just made me have more difficulty completing the test the next day.

The brain can only work correctly after it has been able to recuperate from the previous day, so a lack of sleep makes it much harder to think.

8. Increased Accident Risks

Did you know that most of the biggest disasters in modern times, such as the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill; were caused by sleep deprivation?

Without enough sleep, the brain does not think as well, and it is slower to send signals to the nerves of the body. This means that people forget to do important things, and they have slower reaction times.

If people are not doing anything potentially dangerous, this can result in getting minor cuts or spilling and breaking things.

However, when people are doing tasks like driving cars or operating machinery, the consequences of sleep deprivation can be deadly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue causes at least 100,000 crashes each year.

9. Weight Gain

Several studies done on the relationship between sleep and weight gain agree that a lack of sleep makes people eat more food and gain more weight.

One study, (see source below), found that women who slept just one hour less than other women gained an average of 11 pounds.

The reason that this happens seems to be hormonal. When people get less than six hours of sleep, they have elevated levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates the appetite.

Another reason that people gain weight when they are sleep deprived is because they tend to choose caloric-sugary snacks to give them an energy boost when they are feeling grumpy and tired.

Even though I try to eat healthy, I have noticed that I tend to crave sugary junk food more when I am feeling exhausted. Scientists recommend that people sleep seven to nine hours a night in order to avoid the weight gain associated with a lack of sleep.

There are certain things that could help, such specific diets like the Ketogenic Diet that we have already discussed here on Health Form.

10. A Higher Risk of Death

Personally, I think this is one of the scariest effects of disordered sleep.

The combination of poorer brain functioning and weakened health all combine to generally lower life expectancy.

A British study that started in 1967 examined over 10,300 participants for forty years. The researchers discovered that people who went from sleeping seven hours to sleeping five hours each night doubled their risk of death from illness, injury, accident, cardiovascular disease, and all other causes of death.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential to get a good night’s sleep if you want to enjoy a long, healthy life.

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