How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Health

An individual is said to be sleep-deprived when he/she doesn’t get enough sleep

The body needs enough sleep to be able to handle the rigorous activities of the day. So many adults are suffering from sleep deprivation, especially in this modern society. 

There’s just so much to do and there seems to be little time; 24 hours is enough for most people.

It has been discovered that the effects of sleep deprivation are less in older adults than it is for younger adults and children. Make no mistake, this condition cuts across all age groups, gender, and race.

Having a few distractions and interruptions at night is common in a lot of people that it can be considered as being normal but having this on a regular basis can lead to sloppiness, obesity, poor performance at work etc.

Sleep can be caused by a variety of factors. An individual may intentionally or unintentionally deprive himself/herself of sleep

It is very common for young adults to intentionally deprive themselves of sleep because they consider it a waste of time so they use their night time to pursue other endeavors.

Having a demanding job, emotional trauma and working on the night shift are some of the unintentional reasons for sleep deprivation.

Unhealthy sleep patterns like going to bed late, waking early (and a combination of both), and frequent arousal during sleep can lead to sleep deprivation and quickly pile up your sleep debt.

how sleep deprivation affects your health

The sleep deprivation problem

How many hours per night do you sleep? Chances are if you are anything like the average American, you retreat to bed somewhere between ten o’clock and midnight

If you are a little bit of a night owl, you may push those bounds to one in the morning. 

Seven or eight hours of sleep is generally the norm and that is enough to function for the average working adult. College students, on the other hand, are taking this thing to a whole new extreme. 

No longer are the usually accepted rules of sleeping a mandate for the busy college student. 

Needing more hours in the day to do the work, students are finding them in the wee morning when most normal people are sleeping.

The average college student these days heads to bed sometime around two o’clock. Those are the early timers, though, at my school and many more. 

On any given week night, you can head to campus libraries to find students cramming for that economics exam and folks hitting the organic chemistry books hard in preparation for the midterm that they had forgotten about. 

the sleep deprivation problem

At Clemson University, the Cooper Library stays open 24 hours, with little restriction on when students can come and go. 

Here, the library is a social setting and serves as a bedroom for many weary college kids. They do not sleep long, though.

The kids are not hitting the beds because there is work to be done. 

They have to balance the long hours of the college academic schedule to go along with the ever important social outings that make college bearable. 

Many students are forgoing sleep altogether by taking pills such as Adderall that will keep them awake and focused for hours upon end. 

This trend is not only startling, it is disturbing to many parents and folks involved in the health field.

The recommended number of hours for sleep is right around six according to most scientists. 

Many feel, however, that the more a person sleeps, the better they will perform when it comes down to it. 

Your mattress also plays a big role in getting your sleep

College students are proving once again that they can do things most can not. In addition to setting trends in partying and academic performance, kids are doing so on a tank that many scientists would describe as being empty. 

It does not promise to get any better, either. 

With the holiday season upon us and exams just around the corner, kids will be sleeping less and working more. They would not have it any other way.

Adverse Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body

Sleep boosts your immunity, so lack of sleep does the opposite. A weakened immune system means you’ll be more vulnerable to common cold and flu.

Insulin is a hormone that lowers the body’s blood sugar. Lack of sleep affects how your body releases this hormone thus causing an increase in the blood sugar levels. 

Studies have shown that sleeping less than 5 hours a night for extended periods increases your risk of developing diabetes.

Cultivating a habit of getting constant, long night sleeps wards off heart diseases. Prolonged sleep deprivation may lead to higher blood pressure which is dangerous to the heart.  

There is also a tendency for the release of certain chemicals that cause inflammation; this is bad for the heart.

With sleep deprivation, the chemicals that signal to your brain when you’re full go off balance

This means that sleeping less will make you add more weight. Studies have shown that getting over 7 hours of sleep daily lowers your risk of being obese. 

Sleep-deprived people are believed to have increased levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger while they have reduced levels of leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full.

Sleep increases sex drive. Research suggests that sleep deprivation lowers libido in men and women, causing e reduced interest in sex. 

It is believed that sleep deprivation is one of the causes of infertility in both men and women. Prolonged lack of sleep reduces the number of reproductive hormones that the body produces.


It is apparently obvious that sleep deprivation isn’t good for your health. 7 hours of sleep every night is ideal for the normal functioning of the body system.