You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. You may not know what it can do to your sex life, memory, health, looks, and even ability to lose weight. Here are 10 surprising — and serious — effects of sleep loss.
1. Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Cause Death
British research studies have shown that people who have irregular sleep patterns or schedules that do not allow for adequate rest on a regular basis have a higher mortality rate than those who get enough sleep on a regular basis. Most notably, patients who suffer from a lack of sleep appear to have a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
2. It makes You Dumber
Aiming for a higher grade? You should get a lot of sleep!
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.
3. Sleep Deprivation Leads to Health Issues
The risk of developing several chronic diseases increases when people get less sleep. It is estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from insomnia also suffer from another chronic health condition which can be life threatening. Some of the most common chronic diseases which increase with a lack of sleep include:
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
4. Kills sex drive
Do you want some sexy time but you always yawn while removing your clothes?
Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.
5. Sleep Hurts the Learning Process
Sleep is essential to the cognitive processes associated with learning. A lack of sleep brings down alertness and attention span that makes it easier to take in information. A lack of attention also limits a person’s ability to reason and solve problem effectively, which means that people who are fatigued cannot learn at an effective level.
Skills that have been learned during the day are converted into memories during the night. Even if you manage to learn a significant amount during the day, you will not be able to remember it if you do not get enough sleep to allow your body to store this knowledge in the long-term area in the brain.
6. It Makes You Look Older
Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.
“It’s during deep sleep — what we call slow-wave sleep — that growth hormone is released,” says sleep expert Phil Gehrman, Ph.D. “It seems to be part of normal tissue repair — patching the wear and tear of the day.”
7. Skin is Damaged by Lack of Sleep
Just one night of missed sleep can lead to puffy eyes and sallow skin. If a person continues to develop a constant schedule that promotes sleep loss, this damage can become permanent. Dark circles under the eyes, sallow skin and fine lines across the face can become permanent.
The elasticity of the skin can also become damaged over time when a person does not get enough sleep. Chronic fatigue leads to excessive stress which causes the body to produce more of the hormone cortisol, which breaks down the protein in the skin that keeps it elastic and smooth.
8. It Makes You Gain Weight
Dreaming of that Kate Upton or Chris Pratt body? Then better have a good eight-hour tucked in sleep on your bed every night!
When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
9. Lack of Sleep Hurts Your Sex Drive
Men and women who suffered from a lack of quality sleep were studied and it was determined that most of them had lower libidos and less of an interest in having sex. A lack of sleep leads to a person having less energy and more tension in the body which inhibits the desire for sexual intercourse. Men who suffer from sleep apnea also tend to have lower testosterone levels which can lower libido.
In the “Whitehall II Study,” British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Are you convinced now to get some sleep? Time to drink that warm milk and put your sleep mask!