The Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

June 12, 2017 2 min read

sleep deprivationSleep…it does the body a whole lot of good. Everyone suffers from a lack of sleep from time to time. But did you know that approximately 10% of adult Americans experience chronic insomnia (three times per week for at least three months?) While many are aware of the obvious signs of lack of sleep — feeling sluggish throughout the day, excessive yawning and irritability — most aren’t aware of the more serious effects of sleep deprivation and just how much of a negative toll it can take on your mind and body.

Brain Function Your brain is a highly sophisticated organ and sleep helps it function properly. As you sleep, the brain rests busy neurons (specialized cells designed to transmit information to other nerve cells, muscles, or gland cells) and forms new pathways. In addition, your brain is busy producing proteins while you sleep that help cells repair damage. Lack of sleep interferes with your concentration, ability to learn new things, gets in the way of your decision-making process, affects short-term and long-term memory and can lead to mood swings.

Immune System  As you sleep, your immune system is working hard to produce infection-fighting antibodies that fight to protect your body from harmful bacteria and viruses. When you skimp on sleep, your immune system isn’t able to buildup it’s protective arsenal, leaving you vulnerable to getting sick and taking you longer to recover.

Cardiovascular System Sleep is your body’s ally when it comes to healing and repairing your blood vessels and heart. Did you know that those who are regularly sleep deprived have a 48% greater chance of developing heart disease? Functioning on too little sleep can also cause high blood pressure and lead to stroke.

Fatal Car Crashes Falling asleep at the wheel can have catastrophic consequences. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, each year, approximately 6,000 fatal car crashes are caused by drowsy drivers and drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

How Much Is Enough Sleep? While sleep needs vary from individual to individual, experts agree that adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. While many brush off the importance of getting adequate sleep each night, studies repeatedly show that ignoring the warnings can have a significant negative impact on your entire well-being. Here's another article that might be of interest How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?