Sleep deprivation is a state your body enters when it hasn’t had enough sleep. If you have one night of bad sleep, you go through the next day like a zombie, feeling tired and cranky and “out-of-it.” But what if you frequently experience sleep deprivation? The long term impact on your health can drain your mind and deteriorate your physical health.
Scientists have linked poor sleep with a range of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Find out how sleep deprivation affects different parts of your body.
Central nervous system
Your central nervous system is how information is sent through your body along pathways between nerve cells. These pathways are created during sleep, so insomnia and sleep deprivation mean less pathways are formed. You’ll struggle to remember things and find it difficult to concentrate.
Because your central nervous system also sends movement signals to your body, you might struggle with coordination.
If sleep deprivation is severe, you may see hallucinations. Other people experience depression, mania, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts.
Leptin and ghrelin are two essential hormones governed by sleep. If you’re sleep deprived, these hormones enter a state of flux, telling your body you’re hungry when you’re really not. People who are sleep deprived often snack at night.
While you sleep, your heart and blood vessels do essential maintenance to remain strong and healthy. If you’re not sleeping enough, then your body misses out on this maintenance. People suffering from sleep deprivation are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, including an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
During sleep, your immune system builds up its stores of infection-fighting ingredients to combat harmful bacteria and viruses. Without this essential time, your immune system will be ill-equipped when the next bug comes along. Sleep deprived people get sick more often, stay sick for longer, and are more at risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes.
Many respiratory problems can actually cause sleep deprivation, by waking you throughout the night or making it difficult to fall asleep. In turn, sleep deprivation will make you more vulnerable to cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
Basically, sleep deprivation isn’t a lot of fun. Nearly every system in your body require sleep to function at optimum levels. A lack of sleep will cause those systems to struggle. The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing sleep deprivation is to make lifestyle changes and try products to help you improve your sleep.