How Sleep Deprivation Can Affect Your Health

Most people go through a stage in their life where they have difficulties sleeping, for whatever reason. This could be for a number of reasons and due to different lifestyle factors, but most of us don’t feel our best when we can’t sleep. However, what most people don’t realise is that sleep deprivation can have profound consequences on our daily activities and our health. Poor sleeping habits can increase your risk of developing many other problems with your health, so it is important to put a stop to the problem as soon as possible. 

Put on Weight

If you are sleep deprived over a long period of time, you are more likely to put on weight overtime. People who sleep less than seven hours a day have a higher risk of gaining weight due to reduced leptin hormones and increased levels of ghrelin hormone in their bodies. Leptin is the hormone that is responsible for making you feel full after you eat, while ghrelin is a hunger-stimulating hormone, both of which need to be balanced in order to maintain a health weight. The increase of the ghrelin hormone throughout the body is why people who don’t go to bed early feel the need to snack late at night. Sleep deprivation also leads to higher insulin levels after eating, which in turn promotes weight gain as well.

Memory Problems

Another thing that you might notice when you are not sleeping well is that you might experience memory loss. Lack of sleep can disrupt how your body sends information in the brain, which means that you might be more forgetful when you are awake. During sleep, our brain forms pathways between neurons to help you save the new information you learned in the long-term memory. Also, people who suffer from sleep deprivation may experience memory loss because their brain is always exhausted and cannot perform some of its normal duties. Having good-quality sleep each night gives your brain enough time to reset and transfer a considerable percentage of what you learned from the short term memory to the long term memory.

Heart Issues

The amount of sleep that you get each night also plays a significant role in our cardiovascular health. Getting a good night’s sleep keeps your heart healthy by promoting low blood pressure and reduced inflammation levels throughout your body. Sleep time is also the time when our bodies heal and repair its organs, including the heart and blood vessels. People who lack sleep are at a higher risk for coronary heart disease and cardiovascular diseases regardless of other lifestyle factors such as smoking, weight and age. There is a proven link between sleep deprivation and heart conditions, so if you already have any pre-existing heart issues and you can’t sleep, you should be visiting your doctor.

Mental Health Problems

When we go to sleep each night, our bodies instinctively know that this is the time of the day to rest and repair. If you don’t get the right amount of sleep each night, you will notice that both your body and your mind will not be feeling like it normally should. If you have ever spent the whole night awake, you understand how the following day you might be a little bit moody and easily irritated. This is because people who go without the right amount of sleep over a long period of time may experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Both of these conditions can in turn make it harder for you to get a good night’s rest because you will be up all night worrying, so it is important to get help as soon as you can from a doctor or a therapist. 

Immunity Issues

If you are losing sleep over a long period of time, you may notice that your overall health may start to deteriorate and you may experience issues with your immune system. The immune system works better when we are sleeping because this is the time of the day that the body produces cytokines. Cytokines are infection-fighting substances that the body uses to fight foreign elements such as viruses and bacteria. When you lose sleep over an extended period of time, your body doesn’t have the ability to produce enough cytokines, and thus it is easier for you to get infected. If you already have health issues like you are overweight, have diabetes or have a heart condition, having a compromised immune system can make you get very sick, so you need to do what you can to feel better. Talking to your doctor about developing strategies to help you sleep better like taking sleeping pills, doing nightly meditation and bringing a CPAP Direct mask and machine to bed each night can be just what you need to get a good night’s rest and prevent serious illness from taking hold. 

Sleep deprivation can have many adverse effects on our general wellbeing and our physical health. Some of the effects of sleep deprivation like heart diseases and diabetes can be life-threatening and seriously affect your overall health. Others such as memory problems, immunity issues and mental health problems can affect your quality of life, so it is important to try and fix these problems when we are able to. You can avoid the profound effects of sleep deprivation by talking to your doctor so that you can work through the problems that you are facing each night, together. 

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