What is sleep deprivation?

An individual is said to 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.

Adverse Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body

effects of sleep deprivation infographic

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

Diabetes: 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.

Heart Disease: 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.

Weight Gain: 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.

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

Infertility: 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.

Conclusion

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.