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5 Devastating Sleep Deprivation Effects on Physical Health

exhausted business man sleeping at desk

exhausted business man sleeping at desk

Our lives are full of deadlines and distractions. Last-minute study sessions and work presentation deadlines loom ahead. With so many obligations, it's no surprise that nearly one-third of American adults sleep less than six hours each night. With so much going on in your life, so many distractions fighting for your attention, sleep can begin to feel more like a luxury than a necessity. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. 

While lying in bed until noon on a lazy Saturday afternoon, slowly getting up as you check your Instagram, or read a book might be an indulgence, getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night is a requirement for physical health. 

Sleep and Physical Health

People have tricked themselves into believing that cutting back on sleep several nights a week won't harm them. They tell themselves that the benefits outweigh the cons, and there's simply no time to sleep that much, but they'll be fine. These lies have become so common that as a society, we've started to believe them, but the truth is that real problems arise from insufficient amounts of sleep. The problem is that many of these health issues don't always manifest themselves right away. You might wake up tired, but that's nothing coffee can't fix. There might be dark circles under your eyes, but there are products to help with or hide those.

The real danger lies further in your future, but you're are too focused on the now to think about them. So, you keep pushing sleep down your list of priorities, when it should be near the top. Below you'll find a list of problems that can arise later in life if you don't change your sleeping habits now. 

1. Cardiovascular Disease

You've likely seen several articles about heart health, encouraging you to eat less bacon and sausage and increase your omega-3's, nuts, and fruit. But, you don't see as many articles talking about the importance of a good night's sleep. However, that sleep is vitally important. As you sleep, your body heals.

The same goes for your heart. During the night, your heart vessels heal and rebuild, which helps maintain blood pressure and sugar levels — getting insufficient amounts of sleep to prevent your body from naturally healing itself and increases your risk of blood pressure, inflammation, and, eventually, cardiovascular disease.

2. Diabetes

There are numerous contributors to diabetes. I'm sure you've heard several ways to decrease your chances of developing the condition, but did you know that your sleeping patterns play a significant role? When your body receives the appropriate amount of sleep and can function properly, it naturally releases insulin into your system. That lowers your sugar levels and keeps them where they need to be to sustain physical health. However, insufficient amounts of sleep can significantly affect this release, increasing your blood sugar levels. It leads to increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Weak Immune System

Have you ever felt like you're always sick? Your colds last longer, and you seem to catch a new one shortly after kicking the last? Your sleeping habits may be to blame for that. Your immune system is your body's natural defense when it comes to keeping you healthy and safe from bacteria and germs that lead to the common cold or even the flu.

When you don't give your body a chance to rest and recover, your immune system suffers. It doesn't have an opportunity to build up and remain stable. Therefore, you become vulnerable to germs and viruses that your body fights off for you. So, if you seem to be catching more colds, or your symptoms last longer than usual, you might want to look into changing your sleeping habits.

4. Trouble Concentrating and Increased Risks of Accidents

Your body fights hard for you every day, but it gets tired. If you don't get the necessary amount of sleep at night, it begins to lag. And, as it's struggling to keep up with you and your demands, some things will inevitably fall short. You might start to notice a lack of concentration, increased irritability, lack of creativity, and issues problem-solving.

These are critical to your day to day success, but without the proper amount of sleep, they're going to suffer. And we all know that driving drowsy is a hazardous choice that can lead to severe accidents, injuries, and even death.

Your brain is a powerful tool, but it's not the energizer bunny. It can't function at 100% capacity all the time if you keep pushing it without giving it a chance to recharge and recover.

5. Memory Issues

Everyone is always impressed by that person that can remember every little detail of an adventure they had years ago or every word spoken in a conversation. And while some of us are never going to have a memory that impressive, we still value the information stored inside our heads. As long as we remember the important stuff, that's what matters.

But what happens when you start forgetting even that? It's a terrifying thought, to search your brain for something you know you saw, heard, or did and come up empty. Lack of sleep can lead you to experience such a moment. Sleep is vital to your memory capacity and function because, as you sleep, your brain works to form connections that help you process and remember new information. If you deprive your brain of that opportunity, you might find your short and long term memory begin to suffer. 

Lack of sleep is no small issue. It's not something that's talked about as often as nutrition or exercise, but it's as vitally important to your mental and physical health. One way to help ensure you get a proper night's sleep is to sleep on a quality mattress. To learn more about quality sleeping patterns, or to purchase a bed you look forward to laying down on at night, please don't hesitate to contact us today.

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