Rolling out of bed after a poor night of sleep is never a fun experience. And if this is your n-th sleep-deprived morning, your temper is probably fried to the max.
Modern-day hustle culture has done its best to try and convince us that sleep is for the weak and the unsuccessful, but both our bodies and scientific research tell us otherwise. Sleep is one of the pillars of health and wellbeing (alongside nutrition and exercise). The less you get of it, the worse your mind, body, and spirit will feel.
Read on to learn what sleep deprivation does to your body.
It messes with your immune system
A lack of sleep will negatively impact your immune system, opening the door to viruses and infections. Something as simple as the common cold may be easily brushed off by your immune system when it’s up to the task. But when you don’t sleep enough, it doesn’t even get the chance to do its job properly. You are more likely to get sick when you’re not getting enough sleep, and you may end up with a runny nose for weeks.
It may cause weight gain
When you feel sleepy, your body naturally sends you signals demanding more energy. The simplest form of this energy is caffeine and sugar. In other words, when you are sleep-deprived, you may be eating more sugary snacks and drinking more sugary drinks. And that will sooner rather than later start to impact your weight.
Sleep deprivation tampers with your insulin levels, which is the underlying cause of these cravings. Add to that the potential weight gain, and you’ll soon be in for another issue.
It increases your disk of diabetes
The sugar cravings and the fact that your insulin levels remain at higher levels for longer periods of time when sleep-deprived both conspire to put you at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The less you sleep, the worse the vicious circle will get. You’ll crave more sugar, which will keep you more energized, but that can also mess with your sleep cycle.
And the more you worry about your weight and the lack of sleep, the less you will be able to sleep. You may not develop actual insomnia, but you will likely find it harder to fall asleep.
It increases your blood pressure
Getting less than five hours of sleep per night puts you at risk of increased blood pressure. Consequently, that will result in an increased risk of other diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
What makes it even worse is the combination of:
All of these factors combined will soon start to chip away at your overall health and wellbeing. Not to mention, you will be feeling pretty awful, and since you are not even sleeping, you won’t be able to escape to dreamland to feel better.
It causes skin irritations and issues
One of the first signs of poor sleep are the dark circles under our eyes. These may eventually turn into bags, our skin will get puffy and red, and soon enough, it will start to get sallow and saggy.
The cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) your body produces in excess amounts when you are sleep-deprived is what causes these issues. And of course, there’s the bad diet that can also cause breakouts and redness, which will take a lot longer to heal and calm down if you’re never giving your body enough time to rest. Your body will be spending its limited energy elsewhere, as opposed to healing a spot on your chin.
It messes with your mood
The one symptom you will be more aware of than all others is your altered mood.
A lack of sleep makes us more irritable and more likely to enter into arguments we otherwise wouldn’t entertain. It simply makes us more likely to feel overly emotional and take offense more easily.
This irritability will start to affect our relationships at home and at work, our performance will start to suffer, and we’ll be feeling even worse about ourselves.
Lack of sleep also makes us more prone to accidents, and it can even compromise our judgment, which can lead to even more poor decisions and unpleasant events. For example, you may get hit by a bike while heedlessly crossing the road.
One night of poor sleep here and there won’t be the end of the world, but prolonged sleep deprivation is truly bad for you. Focus on getting enough sleep, and you’ll have plenty of energy for everything else you want to achieve.