This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep from This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

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This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

An estimated 50-70 million adults in the U.S. have some type of sleep or wakefulness disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With a multitude of adverse health effects, insufficient shut-eye is an important public health concern. But the quantity is not all that matters. You can be in bed for 15 hours, but if you wake up every 20 minutes, you won’t be rested at all. This would be considered as less sleep than someone who laid in bed undisturbed for six hours.

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High blood pressure

Less sleep leads to higher blood pressure because of the body is working harder to produce cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” As your insulin level rises, your blood pressure rises. A study has shown that shorter sleep actually worsens hypertension. Research has indicated that people with hypertension suffer the effects of even one night without enough shuteye hours.

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Weight gain

Sleep deprivation affects the brain in a way that makes you want to eat more and not process food efficiently. It sparks a vicious cycle where you are left feeling tired, slowing your metabolism and playing tricks with your hormones. Research has shown a connection between short sleep duration and elevated levels of ghrelin, which is commonly known as the “hunger hormone.” Food choices are significantly associated with sleep duration, studies show. Short sleepers tend to drink less water and eat fewer fruits and vegetables than people who have normal and consistent sleep patterns. 

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Harder to learn

Lack of sleep harms cognitive function. Thinking becomes harder as research has shown. A sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally, and therefore, cannot learn efficiently because receiving new information becomes more difficult. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, leading to the loss of ability to access previously learned information, according to studies.

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Weaker immune system

Sleep is crucial to prevent the cold, flu and other infections, doctors say. Past Sleep in America polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicate that children and the elderly, identified as high-risk populations and first in line for the flu vaccine, are often sleep-deprived. You need restorative sleep to get the body back into disease-fighting shape, according to studies.

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Getting older faster

The skin has its own circadian rhythm, which controls cell growth and renewal of multiple physiological systems. A study found that adults who didn’t get enough sleep were much more likely to be unhappy with the way they look because they noticed more wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Sleep deprived women show signs of premature aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure, another study showed.

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Heart problems

Coronary heart disease and stroke risks increase when we aren’t sleeping, research has indicated. Even with short term sleep deprivation blood pressure, inflammation, autonomic tone and hormones all are altered in a direction that is recognized to contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, most importantly, atherosclerosis, according to a study. This is the build-up of fats and cholesterol on the artery walls.

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Cancer risk increases

Studies in recent years have identified a relationship between lack of sleep and some of the top cancers in the U.S. – breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Research suggests that people who have sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing any type of cancer. A separate  study  found that men who suffer from insomnia may be at increased risk of prostate cancer.

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Depression

Lack of adequate and enough sleep feeds depression and anxiety. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Obstructive sleep apnea is also linked with depression. In a study people with the illness were found to be five times more likely to suffer from OSA.

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Poor athletic performance

Why do you think athletes stress the importance of going to bed early? You’ll be fine if you don’t get enough shuteye one night, but chronic sleep deprivation can hinder your overall athletic performance in the long-term. The longer period of time without you getting enough rest, the more your reflexive time will decrease. Even snooze time will improve performance, a  study shows. Sleep deprivation also decreases the production of glycogen which is stored for energy use during exercise.

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You forget things

Consolidation of the memory occurs during sleep, according to researchers. So when people don’t sleep the brain can’t do what it’s supposed to during that time and your memory suffers. Studies have calculated that undersleepers, and oversleepers for that matter, are mentally two years older than those who got 7-8 hours of shuteye a night.

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You are easily annoyed

Mood swings are not uncommon for people who don’t sleep enough on regular basis. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to anxiety disorders. A study found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the participants resumed normal sleep, they reported a significant improvement in mood.

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Increase risk of diabetes

If you’re on little sleep, the fat cells’ ability to react properly to insulin (the hormone that regulates energy storage) decreases by 30 percent.  Such chronic disruption could cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other health problems, according to a study.

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Dry skin

The extra cortisol in your system as a result of lack of sleep breaks down skin collagen, which is the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Cortisol also causes inflammation. This will inevitably lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Skin repair occurs at night during sleep when growth hormones are released.

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Slower metabolism

Chronic sleep loss can reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions such as processing and storing carbohydrates or regulating hormone secretion, according to a study. “We found that the metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging,” said Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study.

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No sex drive

Sex hormones drop as much as 15 percent in men who have slept fewer than five hours, according to research. Sleep apnea has also been linked to lower levels of testosterone, according to studies. This is due to the fact that lack of sleep leads to people lacking energy. Separate research found that every extra hour of sleep made women 14 percent more likely to engage in sexual activity.

This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep