Sleep deprivation, or sleeplessness, is the condition of not having adequate duration or quality of sleep, which could affect alertness, performance, and health.
Photo via Reporter Magazine
If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how you’ll feel the next day, tired, cranky, and out of sorts.
But missing out on the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep nightly does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation can drain your mental abilities and puts your physical health at risk!
Noticeable signs of sleep deprivation, according to Healthline, include:
Chronic sleep deprivation can also interfere with your body’s internal systems:
Central Nervous System
Your central nervous system is like the main highway of your body where information is transported.
Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly, but chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body usually sends and processes information.
During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well.
You may also find it difficult to concentrate or learn new things!
While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like antibodies and cytokines, and it uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses to keep your body healthy!
Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders and it may also take you longer to recover from illnesses.
If you constantly wake up throughout the night, this can cause sleep deprivation, which leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu.
Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep can also make existing respiratory diseases worse, such as chronic lung illness.
Sleep also affects the levels of the leptin and ghrelin hormones, which control the feelings of hunger and fullness and can be a factor in someone becoming overweight or obese.
Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night.
Sleep affects processes that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, including those that affect your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart.
People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to get cardiovascular disease.
Hormone production is dependent on your sleep!
For testosterone production, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first R.E.M. episode. Waking up throughout the night could affect hormone production.
This interruption can also affect growth hormone production, especially in children and adolescents.
If you continue to have problems sleeping at night and are fighting daytime fatigue, talk to your doctor!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat