Twenty Harmful Effects of Lack of Sleep

20 Harmful Effects of Lack of Sleep


While you may not think a full night’s sleep is important, it can directly affect your health in many ways you did not expect. Since the hours of sleep allows your body to heal, your lack of sleep will affect your brain, heart, lungs, digestive system, and muscles. Overall, these are very important parts of your body that you need every day to function and be the person you want to be.

It is understood that adults do not always need as much sleep as children and young adults do. However, you need to understand the clues that your body is giving you, and know when you need more sleep. You should strive to sleep six to eight hours every day to give your body the rest and healing time it needs. A child should sleep ten to twelve hours, depending on their age. As we get older, we think we need less sleep. This is not true. If we have too many days where we do not get the sleep we need, it will affect our bodies. There is no such thing as making up for lost sleep. You may feel that you are making up for the sleep you have lost, but you are actually getting the sleep you need for that one day.

Sleep deprivation can be caused by working a non-normal work shift, such as working at night, as opposed to during the day. Our brains are chemically programmed to be awake when the sun is shining. If you work a non-normal shift, and try to force yourself to sleep during these hours, you may find yourself not sleeping the time you need to.

sleep deprivation

Medications and illness can also cause sleep deprivation. While you may have slept quite a bit while you were recovering from an illness, once you are recovered, you think your body is saying that it can’t sleep any more. It is important to try to maintain a normal schedule for your sleep, even while you are sick or recovering from surgery or illness.

Here are twenty harmful effects of lack of sleep.

1. A lack of sleep can cause you to be physically weaker, while affecting your mental health, making it harder for you to feel motivated to get up the next morning and participating in your daily activities. You will not be able to focus on tasks easily, and may find yourself drinking caffeinated drinks to stay awake, which can also affect your health.

2. Children and adolescents need to get more sleep than adults. Their bodies use the hours of sleep to regulate their hormones, and allow their bodies to recover from the daily exhaustion of growth. Hormones going through their bodies build the muscle mass they will need to be active adults, as well as repair cells and tissues from the stretching and growth. Sleep is most especially important during the years of puberty.

3. Just one night of sleep deprivation can cause you to micro sleep, which last approximately 30 seconds. Usually a person’s eyes are open for this brief period, which can be disturbing because during this time, the mind is not processing any information, and the individual is essentially blind. While a person can force themselves awake from these micro sleeps, they will often go into another one almost immediately. This is especially dangerous while driving.

4. A lack of sleep can cause delirium or hallucinations. True delirium can lead to a worse condition of sleep deprivation. True hallucinations can cause you to see things that are not actually there, and if for some reason these hallucinations become violent, you may hurt yourself or others around you.

5. Sleep deprivation can actually be a cause of accidental death. If you drink alcohol while being sleep deprived, the effects will be intensified. This is the same as if you try to drive a vehicle. Your ability to differentiate from a dangerous situation is impaired, and your reflexes and ability to respond are decreased.


6. If you yawn excessively, it could be a sign that you are suffering from a lack of sleep. Yawning can cause a brief lack of oxygen to your brain, causing issues in ways you may not be aware of. You may also feel sluggish, which can affect your ability to learn new things and affect your ability to concentrate on even simple tasks. Your short-term and long-term memory may also be affected.

7. Your long term memory may be affected, even those memories that you have held dear and close to your heart. This can also include memories of tasks you perform daily, and a creativity you may depend on to perform your employment. Tasks for your job or taking care of your family may become more difficult with a lack of sleep.

8. You are at increased risk for hallucinations especially if you suffer from narcolepsy or systemic lupus erythematosus. This can also trigger manic depression, as well as paranoia, suicidal thoughts, and impulsive behaviour. Several forms of mania can become active, and without an understanding of why, it may be difficult to help resolve the problems.

9. You make yourself more susceptible to illnesses. Your immune system produces chemicals that will protect you while you sleep. If you are not sleeping, these helpful chemicals will not be produced. This includes infection-fighting antibodies and cells, as well as protective cytokines. Not only are these produced while you sleep, but they will help you sleep, giving your immune system the energy it needs to fight illnesses.

10. A lack of sleep can also cause you to gain weight. This is because a hormone called leptin is needed to tell you when you have had enough to eat. If you do not get enough sleep, your body will not produce this hormone and you will overeat. A lack of sleep also increases a hormone called ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant, causing you to eat more. Gaining weight has its own health risks as well, which can adversely affect your overall health.


11. As you know, sleep heals your body. If you do not get enough sleep, it can affect your blood pressure for the entire day. It will elevate your blood pressure, increasing your cardiovascular risks. You are a higher risk for high blood pressure if you are consistently sleep deprived, as well as heart disease, and stroke.

12. The way your brain works is directly affected by how much sleep you get. If you do not get enough sleep, the busy neurons in your brain will not get the rest they need to help you form new pathways. This will cause your brain to become exhausted, directly affecting how well you focus, comprehend, and learn new topics and skills.

13. A lack of sleep can cause a loss of your intellectual functions. These are experienced as a loss of the ability to think clearly, remember simple tasks, and your ability to reason intelligently can become so severe that it interferes with daily functions. You may have difficulty with basic arithmetic, concentration, and verbal recall, as well as written. Simple words may become difficult for you to read or write. Basic problem solving may become difficult. Your skills may continue to deteriorate until you return to a regular schedule of sleep.

14. A lack of sleep may make you moodier, subject to anger, and fits of shouting, and outbursts that may embarrass you and your family, especially when you finally realise what you have done. Mood swings will happen more often, making you susceptible also to outbursts of tears and crying. A lack of sleep can cause irritability and raise your level of stress. If this goes on for too long, your mood swings and emotional disorders can become permanent, leading to anxiety and depression, which can then also lead you to be placed on medication by your physician.

15. As we’ve stated, depression can be caused by a lack of sleep. This is from a chemical imbalance in the brain from sleep deprivation, a knowledge that you know you should be getting more sleep, but are unable to, and that you realise your lack of sleep is directly affecting your family, friends, and work abilities.

16. Sleep deprivation can cause you to lose your muscle coordination. This can make you more prone to trips, falls, and injury. It has been shown that sleep deprivation has played an unfortunate part in auto accidents, plane crashes, boat accidents, and has also been shown to play a part in nuclear reaction mishaps. When your life, the lives of others, and the world are at risk, it would seem like a good idea to get the sleep that you need.

17. A lack of sleep can cause issues with your immune system. Continued sleep deprivation can make you more vulnerable to respiratory problems, such as influenza, and the common cold. Unfortunately, if you have a chronic lung disease, then a lack of sleep will make it worse, causing you to spend more time with a physician, which will adversely affect the money you have for non-medical related expenses.

18. Sleep deprivation causes your body to increase chemicals that cause many issues, including the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. It also increases the levels of insulin after eating meals. This will promote the storage of fat in your body, as well as increasing the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. If type 2 diabetes is not kept under control, it can progress to type 1 diabetes. Diabetes has a whole level of complications that it would be easier to avoid by just getting the sleep you need.

19. With the increased risk of weight gain due to sleep deprivation, the extra weight will cause a strain on your heart that is not easy to remove. As your weight increases, it takes more motivation to start moving to lose the weight you have gained. If you suffer from a lack of sleep, your motivation to move to lose weight decreases, increasing the weight, and stress on your heart. As this increases, so does your chance for cardiovascular disease.

20. Sleep deprivation increases the production of HGH as well. This increased hormone will cause your body to increase cortisol, which as well as the above mentioned issues with this hormone, also dilutes the collagen in your body. Collagen gives your skin the elasticity and softness it needs to look young. Without the collagen, you will have increased wrinkles and your skin will look older, and scalier than normal.


Sleep deprivation can be caused by many things, including poor pillow support. You should look for a pillow that will support your head while allowing you to breathe comfortably while sleeping. Visit our website for a wide range of pillows. We are confident that one of our pillows will be able to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.

Our experts have many years of knowledge between them to help you find the best pillow that will fit your needs. Our pillows can help with many different types of sleepers, even when you are pregnant. Find a pillow that will help you with sleeping on your side, stomach or back, though there is a healthy position for sleeping that will also encourage a full night’s sleep…

We look forward to helping you find the perfect pillow for your sleeping type and preferred position. We are confident that we can help you find the one that is best for you, as well as any pillow accessories that you might need to keep your pillow hypoallergenic. We also offer covers for your mattress. Ask about one of our wedges or circulation specialty pillows that are designed to help you elevate your head to ensure a clear breathing passage. Sometimes the obstruction is linked to sleep deprivation, so it is important that you have a pillow that will make it easier to breathe while you are trying to give your body the important sleep it needs to keep you healthy and alert.

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