What happens to your body if you don’t get any sleep?

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It is a well-known fact that sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on your health. Numerous medical studies have linked sleep deprivation to negative effects on the immune system, metabolism, food cravings, weight gain, and obesity.

When you don’t get enough sleep your body’s ability to regulate hormones is hampered. One of these hormones is leptin which regulates your appetite. When you are tired you are very likely to crave foods high in carbohydrates or sugar and fat (desserts, chips, and chocolate). This is because your body needs the energy to keep you awake.

Is Sleep Deprivation Bad for Your Health?

Sleep deprivation may result in a variety of health problems, such as:

Damage to your immune system

Lowered levels of growth hormones, which are responsible for cell regeneration, can cause you to age more rapidly.

Increased blood pressure

Sleep debt has been linked with hypertension (high blood pressure).

Weight gain and obesity

Lack of sleep and obesity have a reciprocal relationship: you can’t be overweight and get enough sleep, and if you sleep too little, your chance of being obese is increased.   

Increased stress hormones   Sleep deprivation can cause an imbalance in the hormone cortisol (the “stress” hormone), which can lead to anxiety and stress and worsen the symptoms of depression and ADHD.

Decreased sex drive

Having too little sleep can cause a decrease in testosterone, which is one reason for lower libido.    Unfortunately, there’s no way to “make up for lost time” when it comes to sex hormones: if you don’t produce enough testosterone, you won’t build muscle and lose fat. The only way to naturally increase your testosterone levels is through good nutrition, intense weight training, and interval workouts.

Cognitive impairment

Brain cell activity slows down when we do not get enough sleep and the electrical signals sent by the brain through the day start to get jumbled and disorganized. This results in poor concentration, irritability, and moodiness.

Insulin resistance

Lack of sleep has been linked to insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes.

Increased risk of heart attack or heart disease

When you don’t get enough sleep, your blood pressure is at its highest point during the day because your heart doesn’t have a chance to recover overnight. This greatly increases your risk of heart attacks or other cardiac events.

Increased risk of cancer

Lack of sleep is linked with an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.    The link between the two has yet to be discovered but studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lower your body’s immune system and thus, put you at a greater risk of developing cancer.

Increased risk of accidents

Driving while drowsy is extremely dangerous. It causes 2200 crashes, 1500 injuries, and more than 500 deaths each year in the US.    According to a poll conducted by Harvard University, 20% of adults admitted to driving drowsy.   

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What happens to your body if you don’t get any sleep

It has been shown that lack of sleep can cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol which can lead to weight gain. People who are sleep-deprived tend to eat more but feel less satisfied than those who had enough sleep.

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Effects of lack of sleep on the immune system

Sleep deprivation has also been linked to a weakened immune system which means that you will be vulnerable to catching a cold or flu.

Effects of lack of sleep on metabolism

Not getting enough sleep can lower your body’s resting metabolic rate and it has been shown that people who have less than 7 hours of sleep per night gain more weight over time than those who get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. This is because the lack of sleep impacts your level of growth hormone which helps with weight loss.

Effects of lack of sleep on food cravings

Not getting enough sleep may cause an increase in the production of ghrelin which is a hormone responsible for stimulating your appetite and decreasing energy expenditure. So when you get less than 6 hours of sleep per night, your body will produce more ghrelin than when you get 7 hours or more of sleep.

Effects of lack of sleep on weight gain and obesity

Recent research conducted by the U.S National Library of Medicine in Bethesda in Maryland has shown that short-term sleep loss can seriously affect your metabolism increasing your risk for weight gain and obesity.

How to combat the effects with a good night’s rest, exercise, and healthy eating habits

Luckily for us, there are many things we can do to combat the effects of sleep deprivation such as get enough sleep (around 8 hours per night), exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes every day) and last but not least adopt a healthy diet plan.

Getting enough sleep can be life-changing for everyone. So, never feel guilty about taking a nap if you are tired, and remember that getting enough sleep will have a great impact on your health!

So there you have it. Getting eight hours of sleep per night is beneficial to our health in more ways than one.

Some risks of not getting enough sleep.

Accidents Mood swings Impaired performance at work or school Personality changes Memory loss (dementia) Aggression (violence, road rage) Car accidents A higher risk of obesity and diabetes A higher risk for heart disease Mental disorders like depression and anxiety Premature death (life span shortened by several years)  

Try the following tips for a better night’s rest:

1. Avoid caffeine in the evening.

Try to stop consuming caffeine by mid-afternoon. If you are drinking energy drinks with high levels of caffeine, consider switching to decaffeinated beverages instead.

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2. Develop good sleep habits.

Habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, will make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

3. Create a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom.

Invest in dark drapes, use earplugs or an eye mask, keep the temperature comfortable and avoid watching television when in bed. Also try not to eat heavy meals close to bedtime – they can keep you up because your body is busy digesting.

4. Get regular exercise.

Exercise can help promote a healthy sleep cycle, but don’t exercise within three hours of going to bed, as it may cause difficulty falling asleep. Additionally, avoid working out too close to bedtime or intense workouts could leave you feeling wound up and prevent you from falling asleep.

5. Avoid naps during the day.

If you feel excessively tired during the day, avoid sleeping or taking a nap. You need to get enough sleep at night for your body to achieve optimal health and recover from daily stressors and activity.

6. Get help if you can’t fall or stay asleep.

See a doctor if you have symptoms such as trouble catching your breath or legs jerking in your sleep – these could be signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause serious health conditions and should always be checked out by a medical professional.

7. Exercise helps you sleep better!

Studies have shown that people who do regular, light exercises are more likely to get a good night’s rest. Physical activity can increase the chance of falling asleep quickly and having a deep sleep throughout the night. Also, there are studies linking exercise to a reduction in care-related insomnia.

8. Yoga for a good night’s rest

Yoga is a great way to relax the body and mind and helps you sleep better at night. Hatha yoga, in particular, can improve blood circulation throughout the body and thus promote deep sleep.

9. Meditation will help you sleep better

Meditation is an effective technique that has been shown to improve sleep quality. Researchers have found that meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are major factors known to inhibit sleep.

10. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark!

Sounds from traffic or loud neighbors might prevent you from achieving the best night’s rest. Also making sure that your room is pitch dark will help promote better sleep. Even the tiniest bit of light can be enough to disturb your sleep cycle.

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