Several ill effects of a lack of sleep are well-documented. From feeling out of sorts to being short-tempered, the common side effects of sleep deprivation will come as no surprise. However, in addition to the obvious symptoms, regular poor sleeping patterns can also put you at risk of more profound health problems.
So much so, that the combined effects of a lack of sleep are staggering and the list of symptoms quite alarming. From weight loss or gain to heart disease and diabetes, the physical effects of sleep deprivation can be profound, potentially manifesting in a shortened life expectancy.
Symptoms are unlikely to be this severe in the majority of sufferers, however the disruption caused, can still be highly detrimental to health and well-being. The need for deep, dependable, restorative sleep should never be undervalued. A sound night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.
Why we need our eight hours sleep
Most people need around eight hours of good quality sleep each night. Bearing in mind we need to spend such a significant proportion of our time sleeping, it’s essential to invest in comfortable bedroom furniture and accessories that help to create a cosy environment, conducive to sleep. Forming sensible and enhancing bedtime habits is also essential to help avoid the serious business of a bad night’s sleep.
The occasional sleepless night, while making you tired and irritable, won’t actually harm your health. However, repeated sleepless nights will start to take their toll. From feeling low to lacking in concentration, the mental repercussions of sleep deprivation will manifest relatively quickly. A lack of sleep greatly impacts on an individual’s risk of having accidents both at home and at work. Driving will also become incredibly dangerous.
Health problems resulting from a lack of sleep
If a lack of sleep continues, an individual’s overall health will be increasingly compromised, rendering them prone to serious medical conditions. Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation will disrupt the immune system, making the body’s defences against infection less effective.
Studies have shown that people with insufficient sleep patterns are significantly likelier to develop weight problems, such as obesity. Sleep-deprived individuals are less able to produce the hormone that stimulates satiety and are more susceptible to higher levels of hunger-inducing hormones.
An additional health concern with sleep deprivation is the effect it has on the body’s ability to process glucose, meaning that insufficient sleep has been linked with a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Equally concerning is the effect sleep deprivation can have on the heart.
A long-term lack of sleep has been linked with an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and increased levels of certain chemicals that may create inflammation. All are health conditions that compromise the heart. Similarly, sleep is essential to aid the body when dealing with stress. One of the significant side effects of stress is an increase in blood pressure, which also impacts on the heart’s health.
Another alarming side effect of stress-inducing sleeplessness is emotional instability. A lack of sleep can greatly increase the risk of mood imbalances, such as anxiety and depression.
From fertility to emotional fatigue, regular sleep disruptions can affect all areas of an individual’s health. It’s important to reduce sleep debt as much as possible in a bid to return to healthy habits. Avoid quick pick-me-ups as these will disrupt sleeping patterns even further. Following an effective bedtime routine is the best way to encourage a good night’s sleep.