What lack of sleep can do to your body

What lack of sleep can do to your body

I had a very busy “call” duty at the hospital yesterday. Infact I don’t remember taking a little nap throughout the 24 hours I was at work. Immediately the “call” was over, I jumped into my car very relieved that I was going home to rest.

My journey back home was probably the longest I’ve been on the road. It wasn’t about the traffic or the car but it was about my struggles on the wheel. When I couldn’t take it anymore,  I had to pull over for that compelling nap. In less than an hour, I was fully refreshed to conclude my journey.

Also Read: Real-life ‘Sleeping Beauty’, who can nap for 20 HOURS a day

The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be overemphasized. I’ve realized that lack of it not only makes you grumpy, it can affect many aspects of your life too, including your health. Let’s examine what lack of sleep can do to your body.

1.  Sleep Deprivation can cause serious Health Problems: Not having enough sleep increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes etc

Studies have shown that depriving people of enough sleep for only a few nights in a row can be enough to put healthy adults into a pre-diabetic state.

2.  Impairs Judgment:  Lack of adequate sleep exerts a similar influence on our brain as drinking too much, a study has found.

Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely. Eg while driving.

3.  Kills Sex Drive:  Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.

4.  Ages Your Skin:  Most people have experienced puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But chronic sleep loss can lead to lacklustre skin and dark circles under the eyes.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

5. Makes You Forgetful:  In 2009, American and French researchers determined that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep. You may suffer brain fog from lack of sleep. There’s also higher risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

6.  Losing Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight:  According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.

Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs.

7.  Immunosuppression:  Sleep deprivation suppresses your immune system making you more prone to infections.

One study found participants who had fewer than seven hours of sleep were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for seven hours or more.

Vaccines are less effective when we are sleep deprived.

8.  Depression:  The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression.

Are you getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night? Share your thoughts with us.

Also Read:

Fighting Fatigue and Sleepiness While Driving 

Can’t Sleep? Check this out! 

© TheAreaDoctor


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