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8 Problems Caused by Sleep Deprivation

8 Problems Caused by Sleep Deprivation

Oct 07, 2021

When you lack sleep it makes you tired. That is a no-brainer. But there are other complications you may not see coming. The average recommended amount of sleep is seven hours a night, though this number does vary by age and a few other factors. Sleep deprivation is a problem for one in three Americans. That equals a lot of people potentially walking around like zombies. In order to avoid a sleep-walking apocalypse and maintain optimal health, here are some very convincing reasons to get more shut-eye.

1. Higher Likelihood of Getting Sick

Our bodies release certain hormones, proteins, and chemicals while we sleep. When sleep is reduced, so is the production of these important immune-boosting substances. This means that your body is more susceptible to illness and may be slower to recover. Not only are you tired from not sleeping, you also get hit with being sick. Don’t just try and power through. Listen to your body on this one!

2. Weight Gain

There are a number of hormonal adaptations that occur during sleep. Two very important hormones have a big impact on your waistline. Lack of sleep increases levels of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. It also decreases a hormone called leptin, which serves to produce a feeling of fullness or satiation. Sleep deprivation is an easy way to sabotage your diet. If you are trying to get in shape, don't forget to factor in quality sleep. 

3. Forgetfulness

In order for information to be committed to memory, three things have to happen:

  • Acquisition- Something new is learned or experienced
  • Consolidation- The memory becomes stable in the brain
  • Recall- The information is accessible in the future

The process of consolidation occurs while sleeping. Many studies show that sleeping or even napping before a test improves results. Remember that next time you want to pull an all-nighter to cram for a test.

4. It Hurts Your Heart

Studies have shown that people who sleep less than the recommended seven hours a night, or those who toss and turn have a high risk of developing heart conditions. When the body is unable to find complete rest, blood pressure remains elevated and the body cannot recover to a state of balance (homeostasis). Coronary artery calcification has been linked to lack of sleep, as well as increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is an indicator for high risk of heart disease.

5. More Likely to Crash Your Car

This is a big one. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident if you are receiving fewer than 6 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. The odds get worse with each hour of lost sleep. This is especially true for people who work swing shift or odd hours. Recent statistics show that 20 percent of all car accidents involve a drowsy driver. It is easy to try and push through, especially when you are close to your destination. Don’t chance it. Take a nap!

6. Beauty Sleep is Real

The phrase “beauty sleep” has been around for centuries. Even without scientific evidence, it was easy to figure out that sleep plays a role in appearance. We now know that collagen is produced during sleep to maintain skin tone. Poor blood circulation from sleep deprivation can result in lackluster complexion and dark circles under the eyes. Even the health of your hair is affected by sleep.

7. Unfriended

Sleep deprivation can have multiple effects on your social life. The most obvious is the fact that you are probably too tired to hang out. If you are trying to go on a hike with your friends, but you are completely exhausted, that is not going be fun for anyone. What about going out for a drink? Do you want to be the guy or girl passed out face down at the bar just because you are tired? There is also a very good chance that you will be irritable. When you are irritable you are less likely to be friendly. Who wants to chill with a tired, unfriendly person?

8. Well, that’s Depressing

There is a proven connection between depression and lack of sleep. The correlation goes both ways. Depression can lead to lack of sleep and lack of sleep can lead to depression. Though there are countless other factors associated with depression and anxiety, getting the correct amount of sleep is a good place to start if you are trying to maintain your sunny disposition.

Sleep Deprivation Scolding

In today’s society, the ability to function during severe sleep deprivation is often praised. Though this isn’t the dumbest of society’s norms, it's up there in the rankings. Sleep is crucial and should not be underrated. If you are functioning in a sleep-deprived state, just imagine how much more awesome you would be with a full seven hours or so! Don't give in to the pressure of you insomniac friends and coworkers. Your best you is waiting for you on the other side of a great night's sleep.