Side Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Have you ever spent a night tossing and turning in your bed for hours? Or count a couple of sheep but still can’t sleep?

Then you must already know the feeling the next day – tired, cranky, and out of sorts. You’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but sometimes, you stay up for a night out on the town, to finish a project at work, or even just to watch Game of Thrones reruns.

The lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.

Here are some dangers and side-effects of not getting enough sleep:

1. You’re Always Hungry

If the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep it will often try to get it from food,” says Chris Winter, MD, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia. Running low on rest can increase the production of ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, in your gut.

2. You’ve Gained weight

With an increased appetite comes another unpleasant symptom of sleep deprivation: weight gain. “When you’re tired, you don’t watch what you’re eating,” Dr. Winter says.

3. Your Reaction Time Slows.

This one is the most direct effect of not getting enough sleep. Your reaction time to certain situations slows down making it hard for you to make quick decisions or react to situations accordingly. A study conducted by Mercola concerning sleepiness while driving came to a conclusion that it is nearly as dangerous as drinking and driving.

4. Your Memory Suffers

Lack of sleep decreases your ability to think clearly. According to Mercola, you’ll have a hard time when retaining memories, making decisions, and processing information. Moreover, it will render you less able to cope up with adverse situations because of heightened emotions. That’s why it’s important to sleep well before important work events.

5. It Weakens Your Immune System

Your immune system produces protective substances like cytokines during sleep and it is also the time when your body is able to recuperate according to Healthline. Cytokines are substances that fight off bacteria and viruses that try to invade your system. It also aids you to sleep better, making more time for the immune system to fight off these foreign invaders that cause health problems. People who don’t get enough sleep per day gets sick more often and it also takes time for them to recover.

6. It Affects Your Heart

Healthline also added that sleep plays an important role in keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy, including your blood pressure, inflammation levels, and blood sugar. People who are sleep deprived are most likely to get cardiovascular problems. Increased risk of heart attack and stroke have been linked to insomnia.

7. It Kills Your Sex Drive

According to WebMD, sleep-deprived men and women often feel less interested in sex. This could be due to general sleepiness, depletion of energy, increased tension, and reduced secretion of testosterone at night.

8.Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Death

In the “Whitehall II Study,” British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

With these side effects, it’s easy to see why we need to start prioritizing sleep now. Everyone has slightly different needs but try getting about 8-9 hours a night – your body will thank you for it.