What happens when you don’t get enough sleep
Sleep has always been an important part of keeping your health at an optimal level. It doesn't even matter if you are eating healthy and exercising regularly – if you experience a lack of sleep, it might all become meaningless. In essence, teens and adults need about 6-9 hours of sleep every night. That being said, once you start sleeping better, you will notice that your overall performance will improve and you will start feeling more energized.
But, what happens to the body when we don’t get enough sleep?
Health professionals from all over the world urge people to focus on getting more and better sleep for a reason. Research shows that not sleeping enough during the night can cause a plethora of negative effects on the body1. In addition, these negative effects are usually short-term but there are also some long-term consequences. The short-term effects include:
- Not being alert enough – even if you sleep about an hour less than what you should have, it would hurt the body. You will start noticing that you lack energy and you are a bit nervous.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness – naturally, if you experience a lack of sleep during the night, you will start making it up by sleeping during the day. Eventually, this is going to create an imbalance in your natural cycle, leading to various post-effects like drowsiness, lack of energy, and even hormonal imbalance. If you need to replenish your energy when sleeping unwell at night, a power nap of 30 minutes should be enough.
- Memory loss – you will start noticing that sleep deprivation will have its effects on the mind as well. Memory loss, the ability to process information, and the ability to think clearly will start having some blurred lines.
- Relationship stress – because of sleep deprivation, you will become moody and irritable. This is ultimately going to affect your relationships with the people around you, whether they are your family, partner, friends, or colleagues.
- Lowered quality of life – better sleep means better performance, and once you start having sleepless nights, it will start affecting all aspects of your life. You will start feeling like you are unable to perform regular tasks and be a contributing member of society.
- Higher chance of a vehicle accident – when you don’t get enough sleep, it can contribute to drowsy driving. This is one of the leading causes of car accidents all across the world.
From a long-term point of view, there are several other things you might experience. These include diabetes, high blood pressure levels, increased risk of a heart attack, obesity, depression, and an overall lowered immune system.
Chronic sleep deprivation can have a serious negative impact on your physique too. The high cortisol levels will contribute to hair loss, more wrinkles, and even damaged and dry skin. You will start losing the collagen in your body and will start aging prematurely.
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- The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Sleep Disorders. Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO. Kaplan Publishing. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18239586/