If you’re asking how lack of sleep affects your body, you’re not alone – this is a question that we always get on this website. Hence, we’re discussing this topic to shed some light on it and help you understand the negative effects of inadequate sleep.
Not performing at your best and feeling grumpy are two of its immediate effects.
But did you know that lack of sleep causes more than a bad mood and poor mental and physical performance the next day?
Yes, regular inadequate sleep wreaks havoc on your health, leading to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes; in other words, poor sleep shortens your lifespan.
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Why Lack Of Sleep Is Bad For Your Health
The body needs enough sleep as much as it requires adequate nutrition and physical activity. Why? It aids in important bodily processes that take place while you’re in a deep slumber.
In fact, your body attends to your mental and physical health to prepare you for the following day. Here’s a quick overview of how sleep deprivation takes a toll on your health.
- Lack of sleep weakens the immune system. Constant sleep deprivation causes your immune system to suffer, affecting your body’s overall ability in fending off invaders.
(During sleep, the immune system works hard in producing infection-fighting cells or antibodies to fight bacteria and viruses. Protective substances also help you achieve a restful sleep.)
When you deprive yourself of sleep, your immune system will not be able to build your body’s armor against harmful foreign substances.
As a result, you will be more likely to catch the flu than those who get enough sleep. In addition, it will take you longer to recover.
- Chronic sleep deprivation can affect coordination, balance, and decision-making abilities. And even if you fight it, you are still at risk of falling asleep and, even worse, while you are behind the wheel, increasing your chances of getting into an accident.
- Sleeping less than 5 hours a day increases your risk of dying from any cause by up to 15 percent, according to the Harvard Medical School.
- Sleep deprivation leads to the poor production of protein, which your body needs to repair damaged tissues.
It also increases cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. More cortisol means fewer new brain cells in the hippocampus. You can prevent this from happening by getting enough sleep with the number of hours we will suggest later in this post.
- Not getting enough sleep makes your brain tired, which leads to a number of other negative effects, including grumpiness and poor mental alertness. With insufficient sleep, you cannot perform at your best in school, business, or any endeavor, including a workout.
So the next time you’re wondering how lack of sleep affects your body, just think of your brain that gets too tired without enough rest.
- Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your central nervous system. Did you know that during sleep, normally busy neurons are at rest and your brain forms new nerve pathways that can help your body face new challenges the next day?
Thus, get adequate sleep to keep your CNS in peak condition.
- It makes you more susceptible to digestive disorders like stomach ulcers and makes constipation worse.
- You’re also more likely to suffer from hallucinations if you have systemic lupus erythematosus or mania if you have manic depression. At its worst, frequent sleep deprivation could lead to suicidal thoughts, depression, and paranoia.
An article published on Mercola.com states that 87 percent of depressed patients experienced major improvements in their condition when their insomnia was resolved.
- Lack of sleep impairs learning. Children who do not get enough sleep are unable to concentrate, resulting in poor learning experiences and equally poor grades in school.
Likewise, sleep deprivation interferes with decision-making, leading to poor judgment and wrong decisions.
- You may have heard of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. This is an example of microsleep, when you fall asleep for only a few seconds without even realizing it.
When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to fall into a microsleep and get into an accident while driving.
- Sleep deprivation leads to premature aging because it interferes with the production and release of growth hormones, especially in children.
- The effects of alcohol can be exacerbated if you’re sleep deprived. You’ll feel extremely sleepy the following day due to the alcohol in your system.
- Lack of sleep makes you irritable. Your mood will swing several times throughout the day and your emotions will be all over the place.[Harvard.edu backed this up by stating that insufficient sleep can affect mood.]
- Poor sleep also raises your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease.
Lack of Sleep Symptoms
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- Feeling hungry more than usual even when you have already eaten
- Poor memory
- Weight gain
- Frequent sickness
- Pale skin
- Trouble seeing
- Irritability and mood swings
- Impaired motor skills
- Poor decision-making skills
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
- Adults: 8 hours
- School-aged children: 10+ hours
- Teenagers: 9-10 hours
If you feel the need to take a nap during the day, it is very likely that you are not getting sufficient sleep.
By now, you should be aware of how lack of sleep affects your body and your health. So the next time you’re thinking about staying up late to surf the net or watch reruns of your favorite TV series, think again. Get enough sleep to prepare yourself for the challenges of the following day with a big smile on your face! (And did we mention that adequate sleep makes you wrinkle-free?)
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