Having enough high quality sleep is essential to remain healthy. Sleeping is just as important as breathing and eating – two other functions that you need to stay alive. As you sleep, your body is working hard to get you ready for the next day.
The effects of lack of sleep are devastating to your body. Learn below on how lack of sleep can affect you and your health today.
Effects on Central Nervous System
Your central nervous system is responsible for getting information from your brain to other parts of your body. As you sleep, your brain rests the neurons that have been working all day and help form new pathways for information to travel through. Without sleep, it will not function properly. In addition, for younger individuals, the brain helps development and growth by releasing growth hormones during sleep. The body also uses your sleeping hours to produce proteins that encourage cell repair.
With sleep deprivation, your brain will become exhausted and unable to perform the tasks that it needs. Concentrating and learning will become even more difficult without proper sleep, and both your short-term and long-term memory will suffer. Without proper rest, you will be less equipped to make good decisions and your creativity will no longer be able to shine. A lack of sleep also means that your emotions will become frazzled, meaning a surplus of mood swings and a very short temper. Overall, your cognitive functions will suffer greatly.
If you continue to ignore your body’s need for sleep, you may start having hallucinations. Your mental health will continue to plummet as you expose yourself to the risk of impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.
With sleep deprivation, you are also at risk of micro sleep. Micro sleep is when you fall asleep for a few seconds or minutes without realizing. This can be incredibly dangerous as it exposes you to injuries and accidents.
Effects on Immune System
One of the effects of lack of sleep is a weaker immune system. During sleep, your immune system works hard to produce the tools that you need to fight off bacteria and viruses. Without enough sleep, your body will not have a chance to build up the forces it needs to fight against sickness. You will take a much longer time to recover from illnesses. Expect much more colds and flus in the future. In addition, without enough sleep, you will be at a higher risk for chronic illnesses including diabetes and various cardiovascular diseases.
Effects on Respiratory System
With more diseases such as colds and flus, you will experience a great deal of respiratory problems. If you already have a lung disease, lack of sleep will only make your problems worse.
Effects on Digestive System
Some studies at Harvard Medical School have found that lack of sleep leads to weight gain. This means that lack of sleep puts you at risk for obesity.
With less sleep, your body will produce more cortisol – a stress hormone. In addition, you will have less of leptin, which is the hormone that tells your brain when you are full. Levels of ghrelin are raised with the lack of sleep, which will only further stimulate your appetite. As a result, without enough sleep, your body will push you towards eating more without knowing when to stop. Insulin levels are much higher without enough sleep, which will only encourage fat storage and add to the risk of you developing diabetes.
Effects on Cardiovascular System
With more weight gained, your cardiovascular system will likely have several problems too. In addition, since sleep allows your body to heal and repair, without enough sleep, your body will not be to fix any cardiovascular problems that you have. This will result in chronic health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.