health effects

Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Scott Decker

Sleep deprivation happens when we do not get sufficient sleep to feel rested and alert. It is not simply a situation of unable to sleep, there are serious health effects of sleep deprivation. Researchers says it is a growing problem which costs us our health, financial resources and happiness.

A lot of individuals need between 6 to 9 hours sleep every night to function at their best. The quantity of sleep an individual wants depends on genetics. Some can function with much less sleep while others have to resort to the snooze alarm.

not enough sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation is most likely to contribute to the drop in cognitive ability. The brains simply does not function right with no rest. We struggle with reasoning, learning, memory and planning. A lack of sleep creates serious effects on our performance, which range from low mood and irritability, to a heightened risk of heart problems and a greater occurance of road traffic crashes. Insufficient sleep not only causes you to feel tired, it is creates dangerous unseen consequences. More on that later.

It is not surprising that a night with not enough sleep can result in a groggy morning. But bleary eyes as well as gaping yawns are not the sole things which can happen when the body needs more rest. Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause more harm than what you think.

Let’s see what are the health effects of long term sleep deprivation:

Health Effects

About 90% of individuals who are affected by insomnia also experience various other health conditions. Insomnia is a sleep disorder typical of people who have trouble falling and staying asleep. Chronic sleep deprivation could possibly lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack and failure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Beef up your immune system by sleeping at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and stick to a nutritious diet. You will be happy you have that additional hour of sleep when the bug rolls around that leaves everybody else in bed with a fever for 3 days.

the importance of sleep - lack of sleep makes you have diabetes

High Blood Pressure

You can be placing yourself at risk for higher blood pressure by getting under 6 hours of sleep a night. When you sleep, your heart gets a rest and can slow down for a substantial time. But cutting back on rest results in your heart needs to work overtime without its allocated rest. By consistently skipping out on your sleep, the body adjusts to the new conditions and this increases your overall daily blood pressure.

A shortage of sleep not only overtaxes the heart. The less rest you get, the mind will have lesser time to regulate stress hormones. As time passes, sleep deprivation could completely impede the brain’s potential to regulate these stress hormones, resulting in elevated blood pressure. Probably the simplest action to keep your heart in good health is to get the suggested amount of sleep.

what happens when you sleep too much causes depression

Mood Disorders and Depression

Mental health concerns are non physical health effects of sleep deprivation. The neurotransmitters in the human brain are affected by less sleep, mimicking the signs of depression, mania and anxiety.

For many, depression leads to sleep deprivation, and also for other people sleep deprivation leads to depression. In 2005, A Sleep in America poll showed that individuals that have been identified as having depression or maybe anxiety were much more apt to have under 6 hours of sleep during the night. Of all the sleep problems, insomnia has probably the strongest association to depression. In a certain way, insomnia and depression feed off of one another.

Failing to get plenty of sleep leads to heightened levels of cortisol, likewise referred to as the stress hormone, within the body. By comparison, a great night’s sleep normally reduces cortisol levels in your body. In order to get your sleep routine back on course, get up at exactly the same time each day and exercise earlier in the morning.

Impaired Judgement

Sleep deprivation affects your visual working memory. What this means it that it makes it hard to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant stimuli in the environment you are in. And it also impacts your behaviour, emotional intelligence and the ability to handle stress.

You are not imagining things but you’re in fact slower to react when you are tired. Sleep deprivation is able to trigger a feeling of disorientation making us lose track of time, and confusion where we cannot tell where we are. On a more grave note, sleep loss also can decrease reaction time. A research in 2018 on the impact of sleep loss on drivers said that sleepiness is a main because of accidents. That is an average of 20% of all crashes in developed nations.

sleep deprivation affects learning

Sleep Deprivation Affects The Way You Learn

Sleep plays a crucial role in the way you think and learn. Insufficient sleep affects attention span, concentration, reasoning, alertness, and power to solve problems. This makes it hard to learn efficiently. Additionally, sleeping at night allows you to undergo different sleep cycles which play a role in conditioning your memories. You’re not as likely to remember everything you learned or experienced that day if you do not get sufficient sleep.



When you are exhausted, you will try to get sleep wherever you are able to. That means if your body is craving rest, you may end up nodding off in some unforeseen place.

The mind requires sleep to process feelings, collate memories, recollect events of the day and do a bit of clean up, after a fast paced day. The most apparent indicator of sleep deprivation is exhaustion and too much daytime sleepiness. You will have the habit to fall asleep during any period of inactivity or boredom. Nodding off on the bus, in a meeting or in a classroom, is usually an indication.

Another tell tale sign is needing an enormous amount of coffee to stay up. Abnormal caffeine consumption could mask sleep deprivation, therefore it is also worth looking at just how much caffeine one needs to feel okay throughout the day. If you are a caffeine drinker, don’t exceed 4 cups of coffee each day, which researchers have discovered is a acceptable level for all around health.

the importance of sleep - lack of sleep makes you fat

Weight Gain

Sleep deprivation impacts the levels of hormones associated with regulating appetite. A protein hormone which regulates appetite as well as metabolic rate that lets you know exactly how a great deal of stored extra fat you have, called leptin drops drastically. Subsequently, the amounts of the hunger hormone ghrelin rise.

It gets quite hard for the body to process leptin and blood sugar when it is forced to remain awake. As time passes, bad sleeping habits might result in type II diabetes as well as weight gain, no thanks to your body’s reduced ability to process high sugar and control food cravings.

A shortage of sleep is connected to an increase in appetite and hunger, and potentially even obesity. A study conducted in 2005 reported that individuals that sleep under 6 hours at night were 30% more apt to be obese compared to people who slept 7 to 9 hours. Sleep loss is connected to cravings for meals which are both high in carbohydrate and fat. Research is now being carried out to help decide whether sufficient sleep could be a component of weight loss plans.



Severe sleep deprivation can result in hallucinations. This is where you start seeing things which are not truly there. In extreme cases, this can result in transient psychosis or signs which resemble paranoid schizophrenia.

Serious sleep deprivation is a technique of torture and interrogation, since it simply breaks down the human psyche. This has resulted in individuals imagining things which are not there, like inanimate objects talking or maybe shadows taking on life of their very own.

Along with impairing recall and focus, hallucinations can also manifest around the time when you going to sleep or waking up. These’re referred to as hypnopompic and hypnagogic hallucinations, and could take the form of the real thing, involving individuals, audio, visions and not only illusions. Other neurological disturbances like blurry vision, memory lapses and drooping eyelids.

lack of sleep side effects affects thinking


Sleep is crucial to the cognitive capabilities of the brain. Our ability to consolidate memories, study daily jobs, and also make choices is severly affected. Study has shown that dream sleep or REM sleep, can help consolidate the fragile memories the brain produces during the day. So that organization and long term storage in the mind is possible.

Getting plenty of rest helps sharpen your memory. French and American researchers discovered in 2009 that events in the brain called sharp trend ripples are accountable for solidifying memories. The ripples likewise transport learned information out of the hippocampus to the neocortex of the human brain. This is where long term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur generally during the deepest levels of sleep.

lack of sleep side effects makes you have bad skin

Aging Skin

Most individuals experienced bad skin tone as well as puffy eyes after a couple of nights of missing sleep. However, persistent sleep loss can result in fine lines, lackluster skin and dark circles underneath the eyes or eye bags.

The reason is because of the stress hormone cortisol. Your body produces much more of cortisol when you do not get adequate sleep. In excess quantities, cortisol damages skin collagen, the protein which keeps skin elastic and smooth.

Sleep loss additionally can cause the body to release not enough human growth hormone. When we are much younger, human growth hormone encourages development. As we age, it can help boost muscle mass, thicken the skin, and also strengthen bones. That is why it is imperative that young children get enough sleep during their growing years.

lack of sleep side effects makes you accident prone

Accident Prone

In the USA alone, it’s believed that 100,000 street accidents every year are the outcome of driver fatigue, and more than 30% of drivers have confessed to falling asleep while driving.

Did you know that sleep deprivation played a part in several of the greatest disasters within the last 40 or so years? To cite some examples. The 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and also the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.

Nevertheless, sleep deprivation is worst during our daily commute on the highway. Driving drowsy slows your reaction time to the same level as driving drunk or even impaired driving.

Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is a reason for about 100,000 car crashes and 1,500 crash related deaths annually in the USA. Statistics show the issue is greatest among folks under 25 years of age.

gender affects how much deep sleep i need

Decreased Sex Drive

Lack of sleep affects various hormones in the body. It also has an effect on testosterone levels in males. In a conducted research, participants that slept 5 hours every night for a week had decreased serum testosterone levels, which causes decreased libido. Furthermore, an additional study indicated sleep deprivation triggered a lower sperm count and impacted sperm motility, for that reason not getting plenty of sleep may even damage your overall fertility.

sleep paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

While in deep REM sleep, your body muscles are basically immobilized to keep you from acting out on your dreams. But this mechanism that keeps you safe while dreaming can backfire on occasion, leading to sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis happens when the brain is woken up from the REM cycle, though the body stays in its immobilizing condition. This may be rather a frightening sensation as, while the mind of yours is gradually regaining consciousness, it cannot control the body, leaving some with a sensation of panic, fear and powerlessness.

Many people experience this eerie feeling at least one time in their lives, but those that have sleep deprivation tend to be more apt to get panicked attacks of sleep paralysis which are typically accompanied by hallucinations.

Higher Risk of Death

Can you die from lack of sleep? It depends.

According to British scientists who examined the way rest patterns impacted the mortality of over 10,000 British civil servants over more than 20 years. Released in 2007, the results confirmed that people who had reduced their sleep from 7 to 5 hours or even less a night almost doubled the risk of death from all the causes. Particularly, insufficient sleep doubled the danger of death from cardiovascular disease.

In case you’re affected by sleep deprivation, it is most likely that you might have unknown sleep problems that you are not aware of. After an normal night’s sleep, if you do not feel refreshed and restored and are are sleepy throughout the day, you might need a sleep study. A sleep study is a good start to assisting you to get the rest you deserve.

Know the Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can have dire consequences to your health and in extreme situations might even lead to the death.

On most occasions, sleep deprivation may be treated with good sleep hygiene practices.

These are proven methods:

  • Stick to a bedtime routine
  • Exercise regularly
  • Make healthy eating options
  • Stay away from alcohol and stimulants including caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
  • Get adequate exposure to sunshine throughout the day
  • Practice relaxation techniques prior to bedtime

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