Have you ever spent the night tossing and turning? If so, you know you won’t feel well the next day. However, what you may not realize is if you fail to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, you may face more serious consequences than feeling grumpy and groggy. In fact, the long-term effects of poor sleep – night after night – are real.
Over time, it will drain your mental abilities while putting your physical abilities at risk. In fact, studies have linked poor sleep with several health issues, including everything from a weakened immune system to weight gain and more. Keep reading to learn more about the risks of poor sleep.
Sleep plays an essential role in learning and thinking. Improper sleep can hurt your cognitive processes in several ways. It impairs your attention, reasoning, concentration, problem-solving, and alertness. All this makes it much more challenging to learn.
Also, you go through several sleep cycles at night, which consolidate your memories. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will find it challenging to remember what you experienced and learned throughout the day. Improving sleep is possible and may require you to change your environment or choose a new sleeping surface, such as one with different mattress layers.
Chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders can also put you at risk of:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
According to some studies, up to 90% of people who have insomnia also have another health condition.
According to sleep specialists, men and women who are sleep deprived have reported less interest in sex and lower libidos. In most cases, issues of increased tension, sleepiness, and depleted energy are to blame. If a man has sleep apnea, they may also experience reduced sexual activity. Many men who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are also found to have low testosterone levels.
As time passes, sleep disorders and a lack of sleep can cause symptoms of depression. In fact, according to one study, people diagnosed with anxiety or depression were more likely to get under six hours of sleep per night. Insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder, has the biggest link to depression. In fact, insomnia is considered one of the main symptoms of depression.
Depression and insomnia tend to feed on each other. Sometimes, sleep loss will aggravate depression symptoms, while depression makes it harder to go to sleep. A positive aspect of this is that if you treat sleep issues, it can help with depression and the symptoms of depression. The opposite is true, as well.
Most people have puffy eyes and sallow skin after several nights of not sleeping. However, chronic sleep loss can cause dark circles under the eyes, fine lines, and lackluster skin.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body will begin releasing more cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. When too much is present, cortisol may break down collagen in the skin, which is what helps it stay elastic and smooth.
Sleep loss can also result in reduced levels of HGH, the human growth hormone, being released. When you are young, HGH helps promote growth. As you get older, it increases muscle mass, the thickness of the skin, and strengthens the bones. When you sleep is when the growth hormone is released. It is a part of the tissue repair process and helps to fix the wear and tear caused by the day’s activities.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important. Be sure you keep the information above in mind, which will help you see why you should strive to get plenty of sleep every night. Doing so will pay off and help you be healthier and happier. You can also speak to your doctor if you feel like you cannot get enough sleep.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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