Sleep Deprivation Impacts Your Body Here are 8 Ways How
Did you know, according to the Sleep Foundation, approximately 30-48% of older adults struggle with insomnia? And, approximately 90% of people who suffer from insomnia also have another health issue. Even though sleep disorders are common, if you are suffering from one, please note it is not a matter to take lightly. Let's take a look at eight common effects of sleep deprivation on your body so you can understand the long-term implications of ignoring poor sleep patterns.
Research indicates those who receive less than six hours of sleep per day are 30% more likely to face obesity versus those who enjoy seven to nine hours of sleep. If you are suffering from poor sleep and are noticing your weight increase, there’s a high chance there is a correlation. Here’s how -
1. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which often leads to emotional eating
2. Elevated levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone
3. Decreased levels of leptin, a hormone that signals satiety
4. Reduced stamina to engage in exercise
Medical professionals believe sleep deprivation negatively impacts parts of the brain that are linked to the circulatory system, which can result in inflammation that triggers the development of blood clots. Feeling alarmed? You should. Insufficient sleep increases the risk for the following -
Sleep-deprived adults are at risk for type two diabetes - the body cannot process glucose satisfactorily due to fluctuations in insulin and cortisol levels. Insulin resistance, from less sleep, makes you feel a lot hungrier the following day, while also reducing the feeling of fullness after eating a full meal. As a result, you’re likely to crave junk food that is high in sugar and carbs. Insufficient sleep impacts both insulin and cortisol levels, which, in turn, impacts glucose.
Research indicates those who suffer from insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression. Insufficient sleep can take a toll on one's mental health. Besides depression, people who are sleep deprived are also at higher risk for -
Insufficient sleep impacts the brain's ability to function at multiple levels. It impairs your ability to concentrate properly, learn, form memories, make decisions, solve problems and coordinate. Many car accidents are linked to drowsiness - sleep deprivation results in disorientation and weakened motor skills.
A healthy immune system requires sufficient sleep. If you do not receive enough sleep, it increases stress levels. This, in turn, reduces the body's ability to respond to antibodies properly, leaving a person more susceptible to viruses, colds and the flu.
Experts claim men and women who are sleep deprived have a lower libido. This information is important for couples trying to have a baby. Many men with sleep apnea have low testosterone levels. And, sleep deprivation also impacts fertility in women. According to the NIH, sleeplessness in women can actually result in early failed embryo implantation, pregnancy loss and other complications.
If you thought sleep deprivation simply results in dark circles, think again. Chronic loss of sleep also results in dull skin and fine lines because proper tissue repair does not take place. The release of the stress hormone cortisol breaks down skin collagen and prevents the body from releasing enough skin growth hormones. You might be surprised to know that research published in the Clinical and Experimental Dermatology journal reveals that people who get seven to nine hours of sleep per night possess more moisturized skin. Beauty sleep is clearly not a myth!
How to Prevent Sleep Deprivation
In case you’re wondering if there are any steps you can take to work toward a healthier sleep cycle, here are a few pointers you can consider. However, do keep in mind that if sleep deprivation is taking a toll on your performance you should visit a medical practitioner immediately -
1. Limit daytime naps
2. Avoid caffeine post-noon-time
3. Go to bed at the same time every night, including on weekends/holidays
4. Wake up at the same time every morning, including on weekends/holidays
5. Engage in relaxing activities before sleeping - i.e. showers, reading, meditating
6. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
7. Reduce screen time before bedtime
8. Reduce alcohol intake
Sleep is necessary to allow your body time to heal itself. If you are facing a sleep disorder, we recommend you contact a medical practitioner. Do not ignore the long-term effects of sleep deprivation - it impacts both your physical and mental health. To learn more about why you might be facing difficulty sleeping, click here to read our related blog post.
Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.