Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Physical effects of sleep deprivation can include fatigue or tiredness or more serious consequences such as weight gain, high blood pressure or diabetes. While being tired may not be so serious, diabetes and hypertension can be very harmful to your health.

signs of sleep deprivation

"A major study that epitomizes the gravity of our modern-day sleep deprivation reports that, reduced sleep carries a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease."

Dr. Archibald D Hart
Sleep It Does a Family Good: How Busy Families Can Overcome Sleep Deprivation


Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on just about every system of the body - eyes, skin, heart, and brain. The Institute of Medicine reports that long-term sleep debt puts a person at a higher risk for developing diabetes, weight gain, depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. 

If you are wanting to do something good for your health - get regular, adequate and deep sleep.  

The physical effects of sleep deprivation are not only felt they can also be obvious to others.

Physical Appearance

One of the outward signs of sleep deprivation is that a person appears older, tired and not vibrant. Sleep debt alters the body's ability to metabolize glucose. The results are similar to those in the early stages of diabetes and the physical appearance can make a person look older.

The skin loses elasticity and more wrinkles are the result. There are skin pigment changes so that one's skin lacks color.

Dark circles under the eyes along with "tired looking" eyes gives the appearance of someone who is unhealthy and in need of sleep.

Hypertension

signs of sleep deprivation

An analysis of reported studies on sleep and its relationship with hypertension in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO in participants over 18 years revealed that sleep deprivation, short sleep duration, and persistent insomnia are associated with increased blood pressure and increased risk of hypertension, even after controlling for other risk factors.

Hypertension and insomnia are very common and often coexist. The study reported that, "There is evidence to suggest that the increasing prevalence of arterial hypertension in the past decade might be related both to an increased prevalence of insomnia and to the decline of sleep duration due to modern lifestyle."

Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(13):2409-19. Sleep loss and hypertension: a systematic review.

Vision is Blurred

signs of sleep deprivation

You may have difficulty focusing and find that your vision is a bit hazy and not sharp and distinct. Your eyes will actually feel tired and strained especially if you need to read or use the computer for any length of time.

Generalized weakness and fatigue

Of course who doesn't feel tired after only a few hours of sleep or after several sleepless nights? It's hard to want to exercise or to get motivated to tackle a new project. The energy just isn't there. So although there are many activities that still need to be done or are on the schedule, it's hard to be an enthusiastic participant.

Slow or impaired reaction response

Unfortunately a slowed reaction time or an inability to make good quick decisions makes driving cars or other machinery a safety hazard.

Compromised Immune System

Sleep is vitally important to the immune system. I used to get the flu or a cold almost every year around Christmas. That's because I was burning the candle at both ends. Up early to get to work and staying up late baking, making presents, and attending Christmas parties, etc. It wasn't until years later that I realized it was lack of sleep that had made me susceptible to picking up viruses and infections.

Weight Gain

When your body is not getting enough sleep, weight can may become a factor. With less sleep, the body may not produce enough of the hormone leptin. Leptin triggers the body to stop eating and gives the feeling of fullness following a meal. Have you noticed that on days that you've had less sleep the night before that you are more hungry and snacking more often? That's because without this signal, the body will continue to crave high carb food.

For more info on sleep deprivation and weight gain go to:

Weight gain

One of the best things you can do to counteract the physical effects of sleep deprivation is to make adequate and restorative sleep a priority. You will not only feel better, you will look younger too!

Go from Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation to Effects of Sleep Deprivation

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