A lot of people sleep less than the recommended daily 7 to 8 hours. And, even though two espressos and two cans of energy drink may help you finish your work at 4 am with only 2 hours of sleep, when this turns into a habit, the risk of your health deteriorating is much higher.
Our bodies need the seven to eight hours of sleep in order to rest and recover for the following day. When a person is deprived of sleep for a longer period of time, he/she will eventually experience problems with the memory, weight gain, etc. If you didn’t know the negative effects of lack of sleep, take a look at the list below:
Sleep deprivation was a crucial factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history like the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdex oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and many others. When a person is deprived of sleep, he/she becomes drowsy, which decreases reaction time as much as driving drunk does. According to studies, lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep may lead to accidents and injuries in the workplace.
Reduction in cognitive abilities
Sleep is pivotal for the processes of thinking and learning. When you deprive yourself from rest, you cause problems with the attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and the problem-solving abilities.
Cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke
When a person is deprived of sleep for a longer period of time, there is a higher risk of the abovementioned health problems. According to some statistics, 90% of insomniacs have another health problem as well.
Suppressed sex drive
According to sleep specialists, women and men who were deprived of sleep reported reduction in their libidos and a disinterest in sex. Other contributing factors may be lack of energy, tension, etc.
Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders increase the risk of depression. According to a poll from 2005 conducted in the USA, people who were diagnosed with anxiety or depression slept less than 6 hours per day.
It makes you look older
Chronic lack of sleep may lead to dark circles under the eyes, fine lines, puffy eyes, and sallow skin. During the phase of deep sleep, a growth hormone is released and it’s a part of normal tissue repair, however, when a person doesn’t sleep enough, the release of this hormone is reduced and thus, a person’s face looks much older.
Loss of memory
Brain events known as sharp wave ripples are in charge of consolidating memory and they also transfer learnt information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain where the long-term memories are stored. These ripples occur during the deep levels of sleep.
Lack of sleep is closely associated with an increase in hunger and appetite and eventually, obesity. A 2004 study showed that people who slept less than 6 hours per day had a 30% higher risk of obesity than the ones who slept 7 to 9 hours.
According to sleep specialists, people who chronically lack sleep may be more prone to impaired judgment and wrong decisions. This is especially an issue if you have a job position that requires your judgment.
According to results of a study published in 2007, British civil servants who slept from 5 to 7 hours or fewer had a double chance of death from all causes, especially a risk of death due to cardiovascular problems.