Sleep deprivation can affect your body both in the short term and over time leading to chronic health problems which can impact the quality of your life.
This Blog article looks at 10 affects of sleep deprivation.
Sleep Deprivation Increases Your Appetite
Sometimes in the middle of the day, it can be extremely tempting to reach for a snack – something high in calories and low in nutritional value. But why is that? Why do we choose the unhealthy snacks over healthy meals?
When you experience the sluggishness that comes from a lack of sleep, your body will crave energy. It knows that the fastest way to get it is from those junk foods. The problem is, not only do these junk foods lack nutrition but they also have the ability to make your blood sugar spike and then afterwards zap your body of all its energy. This cycle continues and your energy levels mimics a roller coaster all day long. This inevitably affects the way you sleep as well as your eating patterns. So sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy diet.
Sleep Deprivation Ages Your Skin
Many people are displeased by the appearance of their skin. While some individuals blame its condition on the natural process of aging, many fail to realise their sleeping habits may be the culprit. Whenever the body is constantly deprived of sleep, it starts to produce a stress hormone known as cortisol. This breaks down your collagen and takes away those youthful qualities that make your skin appear healthy and supple.
A study performed in 2013 concluded that sleep deprivation leads to uneven pigmentation, reduced elasticity and fine lines. A lack of sleep can even lower your skin’s ability to withstand exposure to environmental toxins and sunlight. One of the most common and noticeable results of a lack of sleep is bags under the eyes. However, if one gets the proper amount of rest, the aging process can be slowed down dramatically.
Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Memory and Ability To Learn
Everyone can be forgetful sometimes. We often have a lot to think about in our day to day lives, so it’s natural that a few things will slide beneath the radar. But have you ever considered that maybe your lapses in memory are a result of something far more serious? Has your forgetfulness suddenly become a constant problem for you?
When we sleep, our mind goes through a process called memory consolidation. This is the phase in which our brain gathers all of the things we have learned that day and makes them a more permanent part of our subconscious. It improves our ability to learn and retain new information. It’s important that we help this process along. By getting enough sleep, we essentially determine how well we will retain information and are less likely to experience bouts of forgetfulness.
Sleep Deprivation Shortens Your Attention Span
Even some of the most simple tasks require that we devote a significant amount of our attention if they are to be done efficiently. This is especially true if it involves a job function or has something to do with the safety of others. However, some people find that their minds often wonder and that it is hard to focus on any one task. Though there could be several factors at hand, it’s very likely that these individuals are suffering the effects of sleep deprivation.
Yes, your body needs energy in order to perform, but so does your mind. If your brain does not get enough sleep, then it does not have enough energy to carry out all of the mental tasks that it is presented with. Tasks that would have once been considered simple will seem extremely difficult and tedious. Getting a proper night's sleep is essential if you would like to remain alert and focused.
Sleep Deprivation Lowers Your Libido
A lack of sleep can lower your sex drive. There are various studies that have shown that men who don't get enough rest will eventually start to experience decrease in their testosterone levels. This in turn reduces their libido. However, this is not only limited to males. An increase in anxiety and stress levels which are caused by lack of sleep can also impact women's sex drive as well.
Sleep Deprivation Changes Your Mood
One of the most common affects of sleep deprivation is the effect that it has one one's mood. People who are usually cheery and delightful become very cranky. Those who are usually sensible and practical may become a little silly and start to say things that are completely out of character. Though we may find these changes in behaviour a little entertaining, the reasoning behind it is much more sinister in nature.
According to psychologist Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, "almost all psychiatric disorders show some problems with sleep.' Sleep has the ability to change the dynamics of our brains causing us to behave and think in ways that we normally wouldn't. In order to maintain high energy levels and low stress levels which make it easier to function as usual, sleep has to be our priority.
Sleep Deprivation Decreases Your Physical Activity
Most people understand the need for exercise. Even still, motivation can sometimes be hard to come by when it comes time to leave your home and head to the gym. For some, it can be a long and viscous battle. But the next time you question your motivation, consider how much sleep you had the night before. Put plain and simple, sleep deprivation makes you lazy. Yes, exercise provides the body with energy, but very few people are interested in going for a walk if they don't have enough energy to begin with. So if you plan on going for a jog, get enough rest the night before so that you and your body will be on the same page.
Sleep Deprivation Puts Stress On Your Heart
Heart conditions can take a serious toll on your body and are often fatal if ignored. However, there are several things that can be done in order to prevent these diseases. Among the list of preventions is getting the recommended amount of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can increase blood pressure and raise stress levels. Both can wreak havoc on your heart. Harvard University conducted a 10 year study which involved over 70,000 women. The study concluded that those who got less than 5 hours each night were 40 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease compared to those who got an average of 8 hours sleep each night.
Sleep Deprivation Slows Down Your Reactions
Have you ever been placed in a situation in which you had to make a split second decision? Maybe the outcome of an entire situation depended on how quickly you were able to react. Scenarios such as these really test our ability to remain aware. They require quick and critical thought – something that is rarely possible if you are experiencing a sleep deficiency.
When we lack sleep, our brain cannot process visual information as quickly because it does not have enough energy to do so. The most common result is drowsiness, sluggishness and poor productivity. These affects are even more devastating if one's split second decision could cost lives, such as when operating a vehicle. In fact, certain studies equate driving while deprived with being under the influence of alcohol. It's suggested that 20% of traffic accidents happen as a result of sleep deprivation. Your reaction time heavily depends on how rested you are.
Sleep Deprivation Can Weaken Your Immune System
It's normal to get a cold here and there and, depending on the season, deal with a few sinus issues. Also, it's very common for viruses to be passed around from person to person. However, there are some individuals who are more prone to illnesses than others. They always seem to be fighting off the flu or other minor conditions and are rarely in the best of health. That's why it's important to note that some of these illnesses can be a direct result of not getting enough rest.
As we sleep, we build up our immune system – the thing that is responsible for fighting off infections and keeping us from getting sick. When you deprive your body of this function, you become more susceptible to whatever bacteria, virus or disease you're exposed to. This creates a devastating cycle of sickness. If you would like to remain the picture of health, make sure you get the recommended hours of rest.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that go into making our lives go as smoothly as possible. And a big part of our success has to do with the way we treat our bodies. If you would like to maintain a healthy lifestyle, then it's essential that you get enough sleep.
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