The Cost of Sleep Deprivation: Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Updated on November 4, 2020

If you exercise regularly and eat well, but you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep every night, you may be compromising all of your other efforts. 

And we’re not trying to be dramatic – sleep disorder experts say that sleep is vital for our health, and many of us are lacking healthy sleep hygiene. 

Shorting yourself on shut-eye has a detrimental effect on your health in many ways. From diabetes, high blood pressure to heart failure, some of the most common health issues among poor sleepers. This article will try to explain why so many individuals suffer from sleep deprivation without even knowing it.   

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How sleep deprivation affects you?

The irony of sleep deprivation is that most of us have to simply accept it so we can work more. However, the drop in performance ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours.

The U.S alone proved that sleep deprivation is costing businesses more than $100 billion each year in lost performance and efficiency.

But unless you’re exposing yourself to work that doesn’t require too much thought, you are trading time awake at the expense of performance. If you keep going without enough sleep, you may see more long and short-term health problems. The most common problems linked to chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, or heart attack. More potential problems include obesity, lower sex drive, depression and impairment in immunity.

Not only that, but chronic sleep deprivation can even affect your look. It leads to early wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes. There’s also a connection between sleep deprivation and an increase in the stress hormone in the body. For instance, cortisol can damage collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth.  

The Theory of Cumulative Stress

Imagine that your energy and health are a bucket. In your routine, there are things that fill this bucket up. And sleep is one of the main inputs. There are also things like nutrition, the quality of your mattress, meditation, laughter, stretching, and other kinds of recovery.

But there are also forces that deplete the water from that bucket – outputs like running, lifting weights, stress from school or work, family and relationship problems, or other forms of stress and anxiety. These forces aren’t all negative, but it can be important to have some of those things flowing out of the bucket.

Keeping Your Bucket Full 

  • Refill your bucket regularly. This means making time for sleep and recovery, investing in the best mattress for side sleepers if possible, or improving your bedroom.
  • Allow stressors in your bucket gather and drain your bucket. Once you get rid of primary stressors in your life, your body will naturally force you to rest through illness and injury.

Extra sleep is the answer to some of the negative effects of several bad nights of sleep. A new study found that catching up on sleep at the weekend brought inflammation levels and daytime sleepiness levels back to baseline; however, the cognitive performance did not improve.

This means that if you’re getting enough sleep during the week, you cannot rely on catching up sleep on the weekends to restore your attention and focus. But that doesn’t mean you should not consider sleeping on weekends. If you’re already experiencing sleep deprivation, you should definitely try to get some extra ZZZ’s.

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