The lack of sleep can be the fundamental cause of many health issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, mood swings, and heart disease. It can also make us more likely to get sick and increase the risk of serious health problems, as well as premature death.
Usually, the amount of sleep that each person needs is from 7 to 8 hours each night. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to grogginess, irritability, and bad moods. It can also lead to many unwanted side effects like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
According to the National Health Service, one in three adults can experience the consequences of sleep deprivation. Daytime naps can lessen the symptoms of sleep deprivation, however, it cannot be a complete substitute for good night sleep.
Sleep deprivation can be a consequence of anxiety, stress, medication, poor lifestyle choices, alcohol, smoking, caffeinated drinks, and sleep disorders.
These are the negative effects of sleep deprivation:
- Type 2 Diabetes – one of the many side effects of the lack of sleep can be type 2 diabetes. Having less sleep can impact nighttime glucose regulation and can incline a person to get diabetes.
- Heart Disease – sleep deprivation can also lead to heart diseases. A short amount of sleep or sleeping and being disturbed constantly can increase the risks of cardiovascular illnesses.
- Premature Death – the lack of sleep can also lead to an early death because it leads to many big health conditions that tend to lower life expectancy. Some of those diseases are heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Chronic Inflammation – because the body does not have enough time to fix the damage that has been done during the day and simultaneously recharge, the low amount of sleep can cause chronic inflammation. Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are just some of the diseases that can be a risk of long-term inflammation.
- Infections – the lack of sleep can leave the body more vulnerable to infections as it increases the biomarkers of inflammation and changes cellular immune responses.
- Weight gain – because sleep deprivation affects hormones, it can cause the person who experiences it to gain weight. It can increase the levels of a hormone called ghrelin which is a hunger hormone while preventing the hormone leptin whose function is to make us feel full. It can also affect insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, increasing the risk of obesity.
- Cancer – weakening the immune system, sleep deprivation can also cause cancer. It makes the body prone to various diseases. Sleep apnea and insomnia can also lead to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and oral cancer.
- Brain Function – sleep deprivation can lead to lowering of your mental abilities, making you feel tired, angry, forgetful, and make concentration difficult. It can reduce attention and lowers the problem-solving skills.
- Production of Hormones – it can impact hormones like thyroid hormones, cortisol, growth hormones, melatonin, and hunger hormones.
- Risk of Stroke – sleep deprivation can also lead to a higher risk of stroke because it can cause obesity, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, high blood pressure, which are big factors of the risk of stroke.
- Increase Blood Pressure – can increase the heart rate, as well as blood pressure. Studies have also shown that it can also cause hypertension and cardiovascular events, particularly in elderly people.
- Depression and Mood Swings – because it affects the hormone levels, it can cause depression and mood swings. The body stashes serotonin during our REM sleep and if there is a lack of serotonin, it can cause depression to the person.
- Lower Sex Drive – because it affects testosterone level, it can decrease the sexual desire and lower the sex drive.
- Chronic Exhaustion – Sleep deprivation can lead to people feeling exhausted, eventually leading to many deaths. One such example is for drivers. If a driver did not get enough sleep, they can create a big car accident because of the slow reactions or poor judgments that they make.
Because of these reasons, you should try to improve the sleep you get so you will lower risks connected to the lack of sleep.
These are some tips that can help you with fixing your sleep:
- Avoid artificial light or noise one hour before going to bed.
- A strict bedtime and a time to wake up will help you fall asleep and wake up easier. Make sure you follow this even on weekends.
- Don’t do heavy workouts before going to bed
- Heavy meals close to your bedtime can lead to sleep deprivation so avoid them. Also avoid alcoholic drinks or caffeinated drinks before going to bed.
- Relaxation techniques can easily help you to fall asleep (breathing exercises).
Deep breathing is a powerful ancient technique that can relieve tension and stress, as well as relax the body and mind, preparing it for sleep.
Stimulating series of psychological changes, it helps the body relax by lowering muscle tension, blood pressure, and metabolism, slowing down the heart rate and breathing rate.
This technique can be done simply. Slowly inhale and exhale deep breaths by taking a series of even. Do this whenever you can during the day.
Structured breathing exercises like the “4-7-8” breathing can also help you relax your body and mind. Make sure you lie down in a comfortable position, and then inhale for four seconds, and hold your breath for seven seconds.
After, exhale for eight seconds slowly. Repeat this several times. This will help you increase oxygen levels in the body and help you relax. It is very similar to the pace of breathing that the body implements when you are falling asleep.