Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On The Body
Most of us are familiar with the more obvious results of sleep deprivation – crankiness, lack of energy – but there’s a whole laundry list of issues that will plague you if you’re among the growing number of people not logging enough z’s. Today, about 20% of Americans get less than six hours of sleep on average, and the number of Americans that report that they get eight hours of more has decreased.
Sleep deprivation effects include:
· Accidents – drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. Sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries on the job.
· Skin aging – chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines and dark circles under the eyes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
- Depression – Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression. People who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety ten
d to sleep fewer than six hours at night. Insomnia and depression feed on each other
- Sleep loss dumbs you down – sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways, impairing attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.
- Sleep deprivation can lead to health problems such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and Diabetes.
- Decreased sex drive – sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex.
- Weight gain – 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.
- Impaired judgment – lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely.
This is by no means a complete list, but it gives you an idea of how far-ranging effects can be. Don’t hesitate to discuss this with your doctor or medical professional. Our medical team are always happy to help patients identify what may be affecting their ability to get a good’s night rest and examine what changes may help improve their situation.