What are the consequences of lack of sleep, and the dangers?
We all probably wish we could get more sleep, but the demands of life seem to keep pushing back the hours in which we have the opportunity to do that. And even when we get into bed, chances are that most of us stare into our smartphones deep into the night.
We wake up grumpy, exhausted, and dreading the day ahead. It’s not just how the lack of sleep makes us feel, it’s the fact that lack of sleep can have detrimental long-term effects on your health – which can even lead to deadly health conditions.
Dangers and Side Effects of Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep consequences are manifold. Below we discuss how a lack of sleep affects the brain and the body. We will list the reasons why you should make sleep a priority, and how you can get yourself back on track to pay back your sleep debt.
Lack of sleep makes you fat and ugly
Studies prove that if you sleep less than seven hours a night you increase your risk of becoming obese. The theory is that sleep-deprived people have higher levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone called “ghrelin” and diminished levels of the chemical that makes you feel full called “leptin”.
Sleep loss also causes you to release too much of the stress hormone cortisol, which will break down essential skin collagen causing your skin to become dry and wrinkly.
Your brain also isn’t given the opportunity to release enough growth hormone to encourage new cell growth. This can lead to chronic dark circles under your eyes and lackluster skin.
There is a reason why it is called beauty sleep!
Lack of sleep makes you stupid
If you don’t experience the correct amount of sleep cycles during the night, your brain cannot adequately process the information from the previous day. It is like you if you never cleaned your house: there would be garbage mixed up with the essential things you need to remember.
The next day you will try to accumulate new knowledge, remain alert and solve problems with reason – but you will feel too cluttered for your cognitive processes to function normally.
Lack of sleep can make you mentally ill
It has been suggested that a chronic sleep-debt can be the culprit for many sufferers of anxiety and depression. People with these mental disorders were studied and it was revealed that they slept well under the recommended seven to eight hours per night.
Considering that sleepless nights make people moody and irritable, over the long-term, this can become a habitual negative lifestyle that colors your entire worldview.
Lack of sleep lowers your sex drive and causes infertility
Men who don’t get enough sleep can end up with lower levels of testosterone, which decreases their sex drive. Also, the general exhaustion of having a sleep-debt leaves one with no energy to take part in bedroom gymnastics!
This can make matters worse if a couple is trying to conceive, as lack of sleep also lowers the secretion of reproductive hormones.
Lack of sleep can make you sick
If you are prone to flu and catching colds, this could be directly correlated with your bad sleep habits. Your immune system becomes disrupted when you don’t get adequate hours of shut-eye, so your body is incapable of warding off viruses and bugs.
Lack of sleep could even be deadly!
One of the most frightening outcomes of not getting enough sleep is that you can develop potentially deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even heart attack!
Research has shown that when people with insomnia are studied, it is estimated that 90% of them experience one of the above conditions.
The deadliest risk of all from lack of sleep are the accidents that result. Fatigue is considered the cause of around 100000 car crashes per year – over a thousand of those are deadly.
But even worse, sleep deprivation has been the catalyst of major disasters such as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident.
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