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4 dangerous side effects of sleep deprivation


4 dangerous side effects of sleep deprivation

So you have been burning the candle at both ends, be careful you don’t get burnt! Sure you can get away with it for a while but the reality is that we need sleep and we need to get it every night. Sleep plays a vital role in a huge array of physical and psychological functions, from memory recall to appetite control, from emotional stability to flushing toxins from the brain. Going without enough sleep is dangerous in both the short and long term. Don’t believe us? Here are 4 dangerous side-effects of sleep deprivation:

Weight gain:  Sleep regulates your appetite. As amazing as that may sound, a number of studies have found that sleep plays an important role in appetite. There are two hormones that control appetite, ghrelin and leptin. Leptin decreases appetite and ghrelin increases appetite. The balance of these two hormones determines how hungry you are. When you do not get enough sleep your ghrelin levels rise and your leptin levels lower. All it takes is an hour or two less than normal and your ghrelin levels shoot up. What is worse is that with more ghrelin in your blood you are not only more hungry but you crave fatty foods.

Depression: The connection between sleep deprivation and depression is well known, though scientists are still debating which causes which. What they do know is that if you are depressed not getting enough sleep will make it worse and that sleep deprivation may trigger depression in people who are prone to it. Your moods are regulated by sleep and people who sleep well are less likely to suffer from depression and people who are not sleeping well are more likely to suffer from depression. If you are not sleeping enough then you risk get depressed or exacerbating your depression. Even for those who do not actually get depressed lack of sleep still impacts moods and the less sleep the worse the mood.

Alzheimer’s: When you sleep your brain actually shrinks a little bit. This means that it is the perfect time for the body to flush out your brain. During the day a number of toxins build up and at night the brain flushes these away. When you do not sleep properly at night these toxins don’t get removed and new research has linked these toxins to Alzheimer’s and a number of brain diseases. Again you only need to miss a few hours a night for the brain flushing process to be disturbed.
Memory: Sleep plays an integral role in memory. A number of studies have shown that even one hour less than normal can significantly impact peoples’ ability to remember. This can be dangerous if you are working in a job with a high risk factor. If you burn the candle all night long and do not sleep you may forget something critical. Lack of sleep has been the cause of many accidents including the Chernobyl reactor meltdown.


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