This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Image Credit: The Mind Unleashed

John Liberty | The Mind Unleashed

If you’ve ever found yourself sitting up late at night watching infomercials or endlessly scrolling on your phone, you’re not alone. Research from the National Sleep Foundation has revealed that one in three Americans say their sleep is “poor” or “only fair.”

The Center for Disease Control recommends individuals get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but many people say they cannot sleep that much due to work or family obligations. Though individual’s needs vary, making sleep a priority is an important step in getting better quality rest. As Dr. Kristen Knutson noted in a study for the National Sleep Foundation,

“Sleep quality and duration should be considered a vital sign, as they are strong indicators of overall health and quality of life.”

But why are people sleeping less? 

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, one main reason people are sleeping less could be that Americans are more stressed than ever. According to a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association, nearly three-quarters of adults (74 percent) say they have experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Another contributing factor is the number of Americans who report having chronic pain. The National Sleep Foundation report found that “pain is a key factor in the gap between the amount of sleep Americans say they need and the amount they’re getting – an average 42 minute sleep debt for those with chronic pain and 14 minutes for those who’ve suffered from acute pain in the past week.”

So, what’s the big deal? I’ll just have a cup of coffee…

If you’re one of the 33 percent of Americans who aren’t getting enough sleep, you’ve likely turned to coffee or energy drinks to help you stay awake at least once. In 2015 and 2016 alone, retail coffee sales in the US were $5.1 billion. Meanwhile, the global energy drink market has become a $43 billion industry. It’s no secret that we’re just plain tired, but what’s the big deal? Not getting enough sleep won’t kill me, right? Wrong!

Sleep deprivation has dozens of side effects — and some are fatal

There’s a reason why doctors recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep, your life could literally depend on it. Sleep deprivation has been linked to numerous diseases, physical ailments, and medical emergencies.

Sleepiness can make you more irritable.

New research from the University of Iowa found that missing even a couple of hours of sleep each night could make you angrier and reduce your adaptability in certain situations.

The more ‘all nighters’ you pull, the more likely you are to get sick.

According to Dr. Eric Olson of the Mayo clinic, “Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”

It’s trippy, man..

Sleep deprivation has been linked to problems with vision. People who stay awake for extended periods of time experience tunnel vision, double vision, visual errors and outright hallucinations.

You’re not you when you’re tired.

No, it’s not just a funny line from a commercial. A 2012 study found that people have a harder time resisting high-calorie foods when they’re tired. The study concluded, “acute sleep loss enhances hedonic stimulus processing in the brain underlying the drive to consume food, independent of plasma glucose levels. These findings highlight a potentially important mechanism contributing to the growing levels of obesity in Western society.”

Everything sucks when you can’t sleep.

People suffering from insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression as those who get a good night’s sleep. Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman also found that not getting enough sleep was a leading factor in affecting a person’s mood the following day.




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