Sleep is important to our body and helps our systems regulate and repair after our waking hours each day. Although sometimes life gets in the way and we find ourselves not getting enough sleep on occasion, longer term effects of not getting enough shut eye can lead to various health problems and also cause danger and impede judgement to yourself and others. Here we explore some surprising and scary effects that the lack of sleep can have on your body:
What are the some of the symptoms of a lack of sleep?
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of motivation
- Increased appetite
The body has to fight harder when you’re lacking sleep
A lack of sleep on the body prevents the body from having a strong immune system and makes it more prone to sicknesses and infection. It can also means that the body will take longer to heal from any existing illness and increases the chances of developing chronic illnesses and other serious health problems.
Serious health problems
Sleep disorders with chronic sleep loss can cause heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure just to name a few
A lack of sleep causes accidents
Around 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue. According to the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria, fatigue is a major cause of crashes resulting in some 50 deaths and approximately 300 serious injuries each year. Sleepiness and sleep deprivation can cause havoc on the roads and is a major problem when it comes to the road toll. Drowsiness can have the same affect on reaction time as drunk driving.
It’s not only the road toll that suffers, but accidents at work are more likely to occur when there is a lack of sleep. Workplace injuries are a very real concern and can have disastrous effects.
Extra weight without the eight!
By not getting the recommended average 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly, it can lead to weight gain. The two hormones in the body, leptin and ghrelin, control feelings of hunger and fullness, and these two hormones are directly affected by sleep!
A lack of sleep can affect your mood, and you can become more likely to have conflict with others in your personal relationships and at work. You may also feel less motivated to complete normal day-to-day tasks as well as pursue larger goals in life.
Can you reverse the effects of a lack of sleep?
Sleep debt is accumulated when there is a lack of sleep and you can enter a sleep deficit. You can settle short term debt by adding a couple of extra hours of sleep over the following week if you are 10 hours or less behind in sleep.
Of course the best way to avoid the effects of a lack of sleep is to get the recommended 7-9 hours of good quality shut eye each night.
If you are feeling the effects of a lack of sleep, it may be time to look at the reasons why you are depriving your body of it. Both intentional and unintentional reasons cause the same effects. No matter if you are staying up too late, have shift work, demanding jobs, family obligations or young babies, these are all common causes. By addressing the reasons why, choices can be made to improve the quality and time spent in the land of nod!
If you are concerned about the amount of sleep you are (or are not getting!) then book an appointment with one of the Independent GPs who consult at HealthMint. They may be able to assist you with the causes and treatment options for short and long-term sleep issues.