We are constantly told how important a good night’s sleep is just to function properly every day. Most adults require around 8 hours of sleep each day to perform at their best.
You might think that missing out on decent shut-eye time simply slows you down and makes you yawn, but it could be doing more damage than you think. These 5 surprising effects of sleep deprivation are enough to make anyone head for their bed.
It weakens your immune system
Depriving your body of sleep can not only increase your chances of catching a common cold, over the long term it can also lead to serious health complications including:
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
When you sleep, your body releases the proteins, antibodies, and cells necessary to fight infection and maintain a healthy immune system.
If you suffer from chronic sleep loss, you’re not just putting yourself at risk of picking up the latest bug going around – you’re increasing your risk of developing serious and even fatal health conditions.
It damages your skin
When you’re running low on sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormonal, cortisol. This is bad news for your biggest organ as cortisol breaks down skin collagen. If you’re not sleeping enough, you can say goodbye to the smoothness and elasticity that keeps your skin looking young and healthy, and hello to fine lines and dark circles.
Not only is this a tell-tale sign of a bad night’s sleep, it is also a permanent effect on your face. When it comes to your skin, a “you snooze, you lose” attitude couldn’t be more wrong, so don’t skip your beauty rest!
It can cause you to gain weight
Lack of sleep can seriously slow down your metabolism, be decreasing the rate at which you burn calories. Not only does this cause your body to use less energy for everyday tasks such as breathing and eating, but it also increases your appetite.
Missing out on sleep can affect the hormones in your body that control your feelings of hunger. This results in an increased appetite and decreased feelings of fullness. This explains why we often crave more food than usual when we’ve had a poor-quality sleep (hello, second dinner).
Maintain a healthy metabolism and curb the sugar cravings with more shut-eye to help avoid packing on unwanted kilos as a result of sleep deprivation.
It makes it harder to control your emotions
Have you ever lost your temper over something silly because you were tired? There is a strong connection between sleep and mood, so it is no surprise that skipping your 8 hours can leave you feeling irritable, angry and anxious.
Sleep deprivation can increase the brain’s experience of negative emotions and decrease its ability to regulate those feelings. Without a restful sleep, you may feel easily angered or upset and be unable to control your negative emotions. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed!
Sleep deprivation also makes it more difficult to read other people’s emotions, so if you’ve had a late night, you might want to avoid any serious conversations with your boss or partner!
It increases chronic pains
Poor-quality sleep affects the level of serotonin released in the body. This chemical helps the body to feel calm and combat anxiety, and when the level of serotonin is reduced, the body is more sensitive to pain with a lower threshold for tolerance.
This makes any aches or pains feel more intense, which can, in turn, make it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. Sleep disturbance caused by pain can even lead to insomnia, and the cycle of sleep deprivation and increased pain continues.
Restful sleep is crucial for healing the body. If you experience issues with chronic pain, getting a decent sleep is the first step to reducing the intensity of that pain.
Whatever obstacles are hindering your journey to dreamland, you can find a solution. Whether you need to visit your healthcare professional for advice or create a more comfortable sleep environment with bedding products from specialty manufacturers such as MiniJumbuk, by improving your quality of sleep, you are likely to improve your quality of life.
Claudia is a Content Executive who lives in sunny Queensland. The writer by day and runner by night, she spends most of her time reading crime fiction and dreaming of European getaways.