Nowadays, hardly anyone gets enough sleep. Call center agents and people with similar job positions, as well as working mothers and college students, often complain about not getting the amount of sleep needed to function the next day, which is about 8 hours.
Due to this constant lack of sleep and feeling drowsy every day, people usually take huge amounts of caffeinated drinks and energy drinks to help them stay awake and do their job. Unfortunately, they forget to stop and think about how this habit of theirs can affect their overall health in the long run.
Your body needs at least seven to eight hours of good sleep so as to rest well and be able to function the next day. Not getting enough sleep for a longer period of time will take its toll on all aspects of your health, appearance, memory, as well as on your sex life and body weight goals.
Believe us, sleep deprivation can have numerous side effects that can largely affect your life and your general well-being. Here’s a list of ten of the most dangerous ones to make you realize how important it is to have a good night’s sleep:
1. Fatigue Leads to Accidents
Serious accidents are very often linked to a poor sleep schedules and fatigue. Studies have claimed that driving while suffering from sleep loss is just as dangerous as driving drunk because your reaction times are equally impacted by both activities. People under 25 years old are especially affected by this phenomenon.
In addition to accidents on the road, a lack of sleep can also lead to a higher risk of injuries or accidents on the job or in the home. Not sleeping enough has been linked to a significant increase in repeated work accidents as well as an increased number of sick days.
2. It makes You Dumber
Aiming for a higher grade? You should get a lot of sleep!
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.
3. Sleep Deprivation Leads to Health Issues
The risk of developing several chronic diseases increases when people get less sleep. It is estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from insomnia also suffer from another chronic health condition which can be life threatening. Some of the most common chronic diseases which increase with a lack of sleep include:
– Heart disease
– Heart failure
– Heart attack
– Irregular heartbeat
– High blood pressure
4. Kills Sex Drive
According to sleep specialists, lack of sleep can also reduce or kill your sex drive – a very bad thing for your partner, right?
If you feel sleepy every time you and your partner start having some sexy time together, you might be sleep-deprived. In fact, it has been shown that both men and women who are not getting enough sleep have lower libidos and reduced interest in sex.
Low energy levels, sleepiness, as well as increased tension, can all result in reduced sex drive, experts explain.
5. May Cause Depression
Sleep deprivation and the many sleeping disorders can play an important role when it comes to depression symptoms. According to a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.
6. It Makes You Look Older
Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.
“It’s during deep sleep — what we call slow-wave sleep — that growth hormone is released,” says sleep expert Phil Gehrman, Ph.D. “It seems to be part of normal tissue repair — patching the wear and tear of the day.”
7. Fatigue Causes Forgetfulness
Brain events known as “sharp wave ripples” are used to help consolidate memory, which makes things you have learned easy to access and recall. These brain events also transfer short term information into the neocortex and hippocampus where they can become long-term knowledge. This transference occurs at the strongest rate during the deepest part of the sleep cycle, so cutting out a lot of deep sleep can hurt long term memory, which can lead to excessive forgetfulness.
8. Makes You Gain Weight
A regular sleep routine helps you maintain a regular appetite and hunger schedule. When you sleep less than what your body needs, there is an increase in the production of the hormone ghrelin. This hormone stimulates hunger and reduces the production of leptin, which suppresses appetite.
Thus, sleep deprivation can affect appetitie control and energy metabolism, in turn contributing to significant weight gain.
A 2004 study published in PLoS Medicine shows that short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin and increased body mass index.
If you do not control your appetite and enjoy much-needed sleep, it can lead to obesity over time. Obesity in itself increases the risk of several diseases.
9. Impairs Judgment
Lack of sleep can also largely affect your judgment. Even though many of you think that you’re functioning fine despite the small amount of sleep you get every night, this is entirely not true. As sleep experts suggest, just like alcohol, lack of sleep also “affects judgment, making it harder to assess how impaired you are when you’re tired.”
Dr. Christopher Landrigan explains that:
“The prefrontal cortex, an area near the front of the brain responsible for logical reasoning and complex thought, seems particularly vulnerable to sleep deprivation. Experts think this may explain why people typically have such a hard time recognizing their own fatigue and level of impairment. Like the drunk driver who thinks he or she is just fine to drive, the tired driver is not always the best judge of his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely.”
10. It Can Be Fatal
Like breathing, sleep is a fundamental human need. It is not possible to survive for long without sleep as several nights of sleep deprivation can lead to more than 700 genetic changes that could significantly affect your health.
In fact, those who do not get adequate rest and sleep on a regular basis have higher mortality rates than those who regularly get enough sleep.
A 1989 study published in Sleep found that depriving rats entirely of sleep resulted in their death, or near-dying state, within 11 to 32 days.
A 2007 study, also published in Sleep, shows that both sleeping too much and sleeping too little can contribute to an increase in mortality, due to effects on cardiovascular health and other issues.