Sleep is a part of our daily life. Your body, like oxygen and food, requires sleep to function. On average, a human being sleeps for 7 hours a day to shut down their system and retrieve the energy for another hectic day. Have you wondered what could happen if you are not getting this recommended average sleep? This condition of lesser sleep than the needed amount is called Sleep Deprivation. It could be a result of your daily choices or obligations of work.
Let’s discuss the effects of sleep deprivation on your health
1. Health Problems
Sleep deprivation and chronic sleep loss affect your heart and cause higher risks of health problems such as heart attack, hypertension, stroke, and heart failure. During normal sleep, your BP goes down, which is necessary for your body to rest and regain energy. But sleep loss keeps your blood pressure up for extended periods, increasing your risk of heart disease.
2. Increased Weight
Poor sleep affects the hormones that control the feeling of hunger and fullness. This hormone named ‘leptin’ causes you to feel hungry, and with a slower metabolism, your body gets obese. It also results in the risk of type 2 diabetes, which can cause health complications in the blood vessels of your kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
3. Immune System
While sleeping, our immune system releases hormones whose main function is to protect the body from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. With lack of sleep, these protectors don’t get enough time to fend off invaders to rescue the body, making it a weaker immune system. Additionally, you will be more susceptible to illnesses and take longer to recover from infections.
4. Less Concentration
Lack of sleep makes you restless and less attentive as it demands more resting which you are not providing to your body. It makes you irritative, grumpy, and cranky resulting in less concentration. You become more likely to make mistakes and cause errors. Studies have shown that less sleep is the number one reason for road accidents and injuries on the job.
5. Impairs Memorizing Power
Sleep deprivation has several effects on your cognitive capabilities, including your attention to detail, concentration strength, reasoning, and problem-solving efficiency. It makes learning more challenging. Also, multiple sleep cycles have a role in “consolidating” memories during the night. You’ll be unable to recall everything you learned and experienced during the day if you don’t get enough sleep.
6. Dry and Dull Skin
Have you ever heard about beauty sleep? Well, the term isn’t a lie; your skin is very much dependent on your sleep cycle. Inadequate sleep causes cortisol levels to rise, causing inflammation in the body and breaking down the protein that maintains your skin smooth and bright. It also reduces your pH levels, which can lead to dry skin.
7. Risk of Depression
Recent studies have proved that sleep deprivation is one of the fundamental symptoms of depression. Poor sleep can impair a person’s ability to think clearly and make it more difficult to regulate one’s emotions. All these factors can lead to depression. One of the most common sleep disorders named ‘insomnia’ is considered the biggest symptom of depression.
8. Kills Sex Drive
A new study found that lack of sleep causes less sexual arousal and less interest in sex. Sleep disorder affects testosterone levels, resulting in erectile dysfunction and a lack of sexual desire. As the testosterone of those people reduces the urge for men to have sex, women face difficulty in orgasm.
9. Risk of Death
Sleep influences processes that maintain your heart’s and blood vessels’ health, such as blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammatory levels. It is also essential for your body’s capacity to mend and rebuild blood vessels. People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to develop cardiovascular disease and are more likely to die due to heart disease.
10. Growth Hormone
This disruption of adequate sleep can also affect growth hormone production, particularly in children and adolescents. Growth hormone is released during sleep, and for anyone who does not receive enough sleep, the hormone will ultimately suppress. These hormones help create the body’s muscular mass and repair cells and tissues. Sleep deprivation reduces its efficiency to function.
11. Respiratory System
Sleep deprivation can affect your respiratory system and make it more fragile as it is more likely to catch common cases of flu or cold. OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common respiratory disorder that occurs due to the repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep. It also aggravates pre-existing respiratory problems, such as chronic lung diseases.
Seizures are also commonly triggered by fatigue caused by a lack of or insufficient sleep. One of the procedures used to examine seizure disorders is an EEG of a sleep-deprived individual. The EEG is collected following a period of sleep deprivation. If you have epilepsy, a seizure is more likely to occur when you are sleep-deprived.
Studies have found that a sleep-deprived person holds a heavier stake in retaining the disorder of dementia. The symptoms such as forgetfulness, trouble finding the correct words, or if you’re feeling so preoccupied with simple routine tasks like making a cup of tea becomes a difficult task could be the signs of mental disorder, dementia.
14. Hair Loss
Insufficient sleep can result in hair loss or hair thinning, as inadequate sleep reduces the hormone called melatonin. Its function is to provide the hair with the required proteins to modulate hair growth. Stress influences the hair follicles and the hair development cycle, resulting in unhealthy hair growth and loss. And we are aware that the number one symptom of stress is sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation enhances the pain-sensing areas of the brain plus suppresses natural analgesia centers. Research says that a single night of sleep deprivation lowers a person’s pain tolerance by more than 15% and leaves a distinct signal in the brain’s pain-management centers.
Sleep deprivation may have consequences for both your mental and physical health. Working without adequate sleep can result in serious health problems such as heart attack, anxiety, depression, and dementia. As it affects the skin and hair, it can also cause a change in appearance. Take special care of your body and the required average sleep of about 7-8 hours a day.