Health Complications Caused by Sleep Deprivation

You probably are aware that lack of sleep makes you lethargic and even moody. However, you may not  know all the other effects that lack of sleep has on your mind and body. We’ve put together a list of some of the most surprising and severe effects that are caused by an insufficient amount of sleep


Fatigue Causes Absentmindedness


Sharp wave ripples in the brain aid you in consolidating long-term memory, which allows you to recall and have access to learned information. Additionally, short wave ripples transfer short-term memory information into the hippocampus and neocortex so that they can be moved and turned into long-term knowledge. This transfer occurs in the deepest stages of the sleep cycle, which means that cutting down your deep sleep can set back your long-term memory capability, which can cause extreme forgetfulness. College students, remember this next time you are tempted to pull an all-nighter for a test.


Sleep Deprivation Kills Sex Drive


Sleep experts claim that men and women who do not get enough sleep have much lower libidos and less interest in sexual activities. Sleepiness, increased tension, and depleted energy stores are likely mostly to blame. For those men that suffer from sleep apnea, which is a respiratory issue that causes disrupted sleep, another factor may be causing their lack of sexual interest. One study published in 2002 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that men that suffer from sleep apnea tend to have lower testosterone levels.


Not Enough Sleep Spells


Not getting enough sleep for even one night can cause sallow looking skin and puffy under eyes. If you keep a constant schedule of inadequate sleep, then skin damage can become permanent. Sallow skin, fine lines on the face, and sunken eyes can all be lasting effects. Additionally, skin elasticity also becomes damaged after not getting enough sleep for an extended period. This is because chronic fatigue causes stress, which makes the body produce more of the hormone cortisol, which in turn breaks down skin protein that is used to keep the skin smooth and elastic.


Sleep Loss Can Cause Depression


After a while, chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders can cause or contribute to depression. In one poll done by Sleep in America, those who had diagnosed anxiety or depression tended to sleep for less than six hours per night. Insomnia, the most prevalent sleep disorder, is the most strongly linked to depression. In one study, those that were diagnosed with insomnia were five times more likely to report symptoms of depression than those without the condition. Unfortunately, depression and insomnia often are a vicious cycle that feeds off of one another. Depression can make falling asleep more difficult, whereas sleep loss makes depression symptoms worse.


Weight Gain Often Caused by Insufficient Sleep


Having a regular sleep schedule aids the body in keeping a healthy hunger and appetite schedule. When you do not get enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which causes hunger, and decreases leptin production which suppresses the appetite. Messing with these appetite hormones increases the chances of overeating, and thus causes weight gain over time. Studies have found that those who get less than seven hours of sleep per night have a 30 percent higher chance of being obese compared to those who get eight or more hours.


Sleep Loss Makes You Dumber


Sleep is instrumental to learning and thinking. Besides hurting your long-term memory, lack of sleep impairs several other cognitive processes. For instance, it reduces your reasoning skills, concentration, attention span, alertness, and problem-solving skills, thus making it tough to learn effectively with a lack of sleep.


Sleep Loss Can Lead to Serious Health Issues


Chronic sleep loss and disorders can put you at serious risk of developing a number of health problems. This includes heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, and stroke. In fact, one troubling study found that almost 90 percent of those who suffer from insomnia also had, at least, one other health issue.


Lack of Sleep Impairs Judgment


Not getting enough sleep can have an impact on your interpretation of events, which hurts your ability to make reasonable judgments as it is harder to assess situations accurately and act on them appropriately. Although you may think that you function fine on insufficient sleep, keep in mind that you are in all likelihood wrong. If your profession requires that you have a high level of functional judgment, then you may run into a huge issue. Notably, those that do not get enough sleep often make bad judgments on the amount of sleep they require to function properly. They tend to think that they are not experiencing any adverse effects of sleep loss when in fact they are causing a snowballing effect that can eventually lead to serious health issues.