Some people stay up all night to work, study or have fun. There are also others who are unable to sleep properly due to stress and health conditions that interfere with their sleep. However, not sleeping well and enough is not okay at all. In fact, there is a big price to pay for it.
In the short term, lack of adequate sleep can impact your mood, judgment, ability to learn and retain information, work productivity and increase your risks of getting serious accidents. In the long term, there are surprising consequences of sleep deprivation that can make you think twice the next time you are tempted to party or work all night long.
This is one of the most serious long-term effects of sleep deprivation that you should pay attention to. During sleep, your body’s immune system produces infection-fighting antibodies as well as protective cytokines, which it uses to fight off viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances. This means that when you don’t sleep enough, your immune system does not have the opportunity to build its protective forces.
Consequently, this increases your risk of developing various health problems like diabetes, stroke, heart failure, heart attack and high blood pressure. But it doesn't end there. Sleep deprivation also doubles your risk of death from all possible causes (for instance, from cardiovascular diseases, occupational accidents and drowsy driving fatalities).
You’ve probably experienced puffy eyes and pale skin after not sleeping well for a night or two. Usually, these effects are reversible when you start sleeping normally again. However, when you fail to get enough sleep night after night, your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that in excess amounts breaks down skin collagen (the protein which keeps your skin elastic and smooth). This leads to fine lines, lackluster skin and dark circles under eyes that make your skin look older than it is.
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to increased weight gain. Different studies have found out that it stimulates appetite and cravings for foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates, which leads to overweight and obesity.
Men and women who are sleep deprived also experience less interest in sex due to their lower libidos. Therefore, if you don’t want your sex life to worsen, you should start respecting your sleeping hours from now on.
Make a conscious decision today to start getting enough hours of sleep every night (or day for those who work at night) to avoid the above effects of sleep deprivation on your health and overall well-being.