11 ways lack of sleep affects your health and well-being

11 ways lack of sleep affects your health and well-being

We’ve all felt the effects of a sleepless night – lack of energy or feeling weak the next day. But do you know how important sleep is to your overall health? You might be surprised.

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, mental health problems, and obesity.

It can affect everything from your eyesight to digestion.

The results of poor sleep include:

1. Brain changes

The prefrontal cortex helps us plan, make decisions, assess risk, and manage our behavior. It is directly affected by lack of sleep, so it can lead to impaired brain function during the day.

2. Myokemia – eyelid twitching

It is often caused by lack of sleep, exhaustion, or muscle stress. It is not dangerous in itself but can lead to dry eyes.

3. Poor concentration and memory

Our brains are very active while we sleep and a lot of new learning is difficult while we sleep. So the lack of it leads to a decrease in mental performance.

Research has found that 17 hours of continuous awakening affects performance in the same way as drinking two small glasses of wine.

4. Heart attack/stroke

In the long run, continued sleep deprivation puts us at greater risk of developing associated conditions such as Heart attack and stroke.

5. Cravings for junk food

Lack of sleep makes us crave carbohydrate-rich foods when we are stressed, as they are more energy-dense.

They bring an increase in glucose, followed by a decrease in energy. This creates a cycle where we crave energy-dense food to give us another boost.

Craving pizza? It could be the effect of lack of sleep.

6. Weakened immune system

Our immune systems are complex and benefit from good sleep habits. Sleep deprivation may impair function – for example, the number of colds people get, as well as our ability to fight inflammation and even tumor growth.

7. Digestion

Sleep allows our digestive system to renew, repair, and grow our good gut bacteria. Without it, the balance of the gut can be affected resulting in stomach pain, bloating and irritation for those suffering from conditions such as IBS.

8. Weight gain

Sleep deprivation lowers the levels of the hormone leptin in our bodies and increases the levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes us feel hungry.

9. Mood changes and depression

Our moods are one of the first indicators that we might have trouble sleeping. Sleep deprivation affects the part of our brains that regulates emotions and can easily make us feel jittery, groggy and upset.

10. Blood pressure

Lack of sleep can increase blood pressure, especially in those who already have high blood pressure.

11. Overheating

Sleep is vital for our bodies to regulate internal temperature. So, if you are feeling hot, it could be because your body temperature has increased due to a lack of quality sleep.

As we become more tired, our brain begins to overheat and begins to yawn – to compensate for this failure in thermoregulation.

Dr. Robin Smith is a Consultant Respiratory Medicine at Ninewells Hospital.

set up NHS Tayside sleep service In 2004, providing education and support for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Dr. Robin Smith, Consultant Respiratory Medicine at Ninewells.

He says, “Sleep is very important to your well-being and physical health.

“Sleep deprivation or fragmentation has a huge detrimental effect on many things.

“It’s not just about your ability to work or how you feel during the day.

“It raises your sympathetic system. So your blood pressure rises during the night. It can damage small blood vessels, so you are at greater risk of heart attack or stroke.”

Nine times more likely to crash your car

“It raises your sugar, so if you have type 2 diabetes, it could make it worse. Or it could trigger diabetes if you’re on the sidelines.”

“You’re nine times more likely to hit your car if you have undiagnosed sleep apnea,” says Dr. Smith.

“So it’s a crucial treatment to give if you need it.”

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