Sleep is very important to a human’s health and wellbeing. However, there are millions of people who do not sleep enough and many of them are affected by the lack of sleep. For instance, based on the results of the surveys conducted in 1999-2004, at least 40 million of Americans suffer from more than 70 various kinds of sleep disorders and 60% of adults have sleep issues more than several nights a week. Not sleeping enough after the first signs can bring a sleep-deprived person to a vicious circle of sleep deprivation. Now let's take a close look at what happens if you don't sleep.
What Happens If You Don't Sleep
Craving for Junk Food
According to recent studies, there is a link between sleep problems and increased cravings for unhealthy fats and carbohydrates, sugars and salty foods. When we don’t get enough sleep, we feel hungry and exhausted and start to crave junk food.
Lack of sleep can make you gain weight and lead to obesity because it seems to increase our appetite and give us a feeling of hunger. According to some studies, those who sleep less than 6 hours at night are around 30% more likely to suffer from obesity as opposed to people who sleep more than 7 hours. Recent studies are focused on finding the correlation between sleep and peptides that are responsible for our appetite.
Lack of sleep is one of the strongest aging factors and influences our body in more than one ways.
In short-term, it can cause under-eye puffiness. In long-term, loss of sleep can lead to dark circles under the eyes, wrinkles and fine lines.
When you don’t get quality sleep, your body releases excess cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone can damage the skin collagen which is responsible for keeping your skin youthful and elastic.
Poor sleep also provokes your body to release decreased levels of human growth hormone. As we grow older, it helps to thicken the skin, increase the muscle mass and strengthen the bones.
Loss of sleep makes men less manly because of the decrease in testosterone levels. Low testosterone affects energy level, sexual drive and ability to focus. In young men, testosterone also affects the muscle mass, bone mass and forming strength that are important for their health in the future.
Distractedness & Forgetfulness
Sleep influences learning and thinking abilities a lot. Loss of sleep may significantly damage these cognitive functions. Firstly, it can diminish our attention, alertness and ability to focus, reason, concentrate and solve problem. Secondly, the consolidation of human memories depends highly on the quality of sleep during the night. If you don’t sleep enough, it is more difficult to remember things you have learned and tried to memorize during the day.
Long-term loss of sleep can lead to depression or anxiety. According to studies, individuals diagnosed with anxiety or depression are more likely to have less than 6 hours' sleep at night. Insomnia, the most prevalent sleep disorder, has a strong relation to depression. Individuals with insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression, as some studies showed. In some cases, insomnia is one of the first signs of depression.
Sleep loss might impair your judgment, making you interpret events inadequately. Usually, those who suffer from sleep disorders do not realize the damage that loss of sleep is doing to them. Sometimes they even think they can do fine with less sleep, but sleep specialists ensure that they are wrong. Those who sleep 6 hours or less at night have worse mental and awareness tests results.
Deprived Sex Drive
According to sleep specialists, men and women with sleep disorders often suffer from decreased interest in sex and lower sexual drive. Sleepiness, high tension and low energy are the factors to blame. Men who suffer from sleep apnea may experience additional issue that lowers their libidos. Some studies reveled that a lot of men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels.
Wondering what happens if you don't sleep, accidents happen. Many huge disasters that happen every day are influenced by sleep deprivation. Sleep disorders may lead to injuries and accidents at work.
Lack of sleep also causes car accidents. Driving drowsy makes your reaction as slow as driving drunk. Each of the 100,000 car accidents and each of the 1,550 deaths in the road are caused by fatigue. This issue mostly affects people under 25 years old.
Serious Health Conditions
Sleep problems can lead to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and irregular heartbeat. 90% of people who suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder that results in a trouble of falling and staying asleep, also might develop additional health conditions such as depression, anxiety, thyroid disease or sleep apnea, a breathing problem that interrupts sleep.
The Vicious Circle of Sleep Deprivation
Watch this video and find out what happens if you don't sleep and how this circle affects your health: