25 Horrible Things That Happen If You [Don’t Get Enough Sleep]

In our 24/7 culture, sleep loss is a major problem. Here are 25 unfortunate risks of partial and total sleep deprivation, some more common than others:

  • Irritability: The negative emotional effect of disruptive events — things like being interrupted while in the middle of doing something — were amplified by sleep loss.
  • Headaches: Scientists don’t yet know exactly why sleep deprivation leads to headaches but 36 to 58% of people with sleep apnea wake up with “nondescript morning headaches.”
  • Inability to learn: Short-term memory is a crucial component of learning, and sleep deprivation significantly impaired the memory ability.
  • Weight gain: People who are under slept seem to have hormone imbalances that are tied to increased appetite, more cravings for high-calorie foods, a greater response to indulgent treats, and a dampened ability to control their impulses.
  • Poor vision: Sleep deprivation is associated with tunnel vision, double vision, and dimness.
  • Heart disease: When researchers kept people awake for 88 hours, their blood pressure went up. But even subjects who were allowed to sleep for 4 hours a night had an elevated heart rate when compared to those getting 8 hours.
  • Slowness: Your reaction time is severely impeded when you don’t get enough sleep.
  • Infection: Prolonged sleep deprivation and even one night of sleeplessness can impede your body’s natural defenses against microorganisms.
  • Economic risk-taking: A single night of sleep deprivation evoked a strategy shift during risky decision making such that healthy human volunteers moved from defending against losses to seeking increased gains.
  • Overproduction of urine: When people sleep, the body slows down its normal urine production. But when someone is sleep deprived, this normal slowdown doesn’t happen, leading to use the bathroom many times during the night.
  • Distractedness: An unstable state that fluctuates within seconds and that cannot be characterized as either fully awake or asleep, and your ability to pay attention is variable at best.
  • Less effective vaccines: When you don’t sleep, your immune system is compromised, and this doesn’t work quite as well.
  • Impaired speech: Severe sleep deprivation might make you sound like you were not able to properly express and verbalize their thoughts.
  • Colds: If you’re wondering why you’re sick all the time and seem to pick up every bug that travels around the office, it’s probably because you’re not getting enough sleep. those who had gotten less than 7 hours of sleep in the two weeks prior were almost 3 times more likely to get sick than those who’d had 8 or more hours of sleep.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Regular sleep loss also makes you more likely to develop both Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and inflammatory bowel syndrome.
  • Car accidents: Drowsy driving is often compared to drunk driving.
  • Depleted sex drive: Testosterone is an important component of sexual drive and desire in both women and men. Sleeping increases testosterone levels, while being awake decreases them.
  • Pain: Sleep deprivation may actually cause pain or at least increase people’s sensitivity to pain.
  • Diabetes: Being awake when your body wants you to be asleep messes with your metabolism, which in turn increases your risk for insulin resistance (often called “pre-diabetes”) and type 2 diabetes.
  • Sloppiness: Most people notice that when they’re sleepy, they’re not at the top of their game.
  • Cancer: Since disrupted circadian rhythm and reduced immunity are direct results of sleep deprivation, people who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk for developing certain kinds of cancer.
  • Memory problems: People who slept more forgot less. Poor sleep and not enough of it have also been linked to higher levels of β-Amyloid.
  • Genetic disruption: A 2013 study shed some light on why sleep is tied to so many different aspects of our health and wellness. Poor sleep actually disrupts normal genetic activity. After one week of sleeping less than 6 hours per night, researchers found that more than 700 genes were not behaving normally, including some that help govern immune and stress responses.
  • Unhappiness and depression: A poor night’s sleep was one of two factors that could ruin the following day’s mood. Insomniacs are also twice as likely to develop depression.
  • Death: People who consistently do not get 7-8 hours of sleep are more likely to die during a given time period.
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