The Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep
I spoke previously about how to begin your day right. However, if you don't get a good night's sleep, that can be difficult to achieve.
In our house, we have someone who does not sleep well (it's not me). I have my moments though, especially since menopause came on the scene. Generally though, I sleep pretty well ... except when the dreaded night sweats happen.
Many people choose to sacrifice their sleep in order to get more done each day. While using a few hours of your nap time to work or study more may seem like the best way of “going the extra mile”, sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects (remember those late night study sessions in University?). Unfortunately, the disadvantages of not getting enough sleep are beyond daytime drowsiness and can’t be fixed with a daily dose of caffeine. Lack of sleep can jeopardize your safety and that of others around you or lead to serious health consequences. The following is a list of some surprising negative effects of inadequate sleep.
Sleep deprivation can affect the way you look and accelerate the aging process. After just a few days of sleepless nights, many people start to develop wrinkles, lackluster skin and dark circles under the eyes. Who wants that! Much of this is caused by higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is elevated when you don’t get enough rest. One of the side-effects of excess cortisol is that it breaks down collagen – a protein that keeps the skin smooth, elastic (think bounce-back) and looking young.
A few nights of missed sleep can be fixed easily with more rest during subsequent days and is unlikely to have long lasting effects on your health. However, when you don’t sleep well for weeks, months, or even years, this will start to take a serious toll on your health and put you at a much higher risk of developing a range of health problems including depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Increased Risk of Causing Accidents
Lack of sleep causes drowsiness which can increase the risk of accidents when driving, operating machines and performing various other tasks. Drowsiness slows down your reaction times and this makes it much more difficult to respond when you need to. This is why fatigue is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents on the roads today.
Poor Mental Performance
If you’re sleep deprived, many of your cognitive responses will not function at peak levels. Your attention span, reasoning, sense of judgment and problem solving skills will be impaired when the body is not well rested. Lack of sleep also affects the way your brain processes and stores information and you’ll tend to forget things more often. All of these factors make performing effectively and productively during the day very difficult.
It may be hard to believe that not sleeping enough can cause you to pack on some extra pounds. However, recent studies have found that shortened sleep time decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) in your body while also elevating levels of ghrelin (a hormone that induces hunger). A lack of sleep also reduces your Human Growth Hormone. Human Growth Hormone stimulates muscle growth and fat burning. Reduced levels limit the rate at which your body burns fat. The overall result is that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be more likely to overeat and your body will burn off the excess calories at a slower rate.
As you can see, skimping on sleep is a bad idea. While it may seem like it’s not a big deal, it can have serious consequences on your health and performance. According to Stats-Can, make sure you’re getting your 7 - 9 hours of high quality sleep every single night to avoid the adverse effects discussed here.
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Yours in health and wellness,
LOVING DISCLAIMER: Please consult your healthcare practitioner if you are experiencing any symptoms. I am not a doctor. This post and anything else you find on this website is intended for informational, educational and self-empowerment purposes ONLY and is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition or disease.