What Happens to Our Bodies If We Don’t Get Enough Sleep
According to this research, the average American says they feel sleepy 3 days a week because of “not sleeping well,” while others feel like this 5 to 7 days a week. Sleeping has its benefits, from boosting the mood and increasing productivity to powering a strong heart. However, this means that a lack of sleep can reverse these things and cause us a lot of health problems, both physically and mentally.
Bright Side wants you to be aware of these problems so that you can tell if you ever start experiencing any of these sleep-deprivation side effects.
1. It can lead to “microsleeps.”
A very real and potentially dangerous effect of sleep deprivation is the so-called “microsleep.” This involuntary napping can happen randomly, even during an important task or activity, without us even realizing it. It can occur at school, at work, or even while driving, which makes it a very serious condition.
2. It can age your skin.
3. It affects a person’s judgment.
In a study, 26 subjects were sleep-deprived for only 2 days, and they were tasked to give their judgments on different moral dilemmas. The results suggested that, because of sleep deprivation, it was harder for people to answer complex moral questions.
4. It affects our emotions negatively.
According to professor David Dinges, sleep deprivation can have various negative emotional effects on a person. We know that it makes us cranky and irritable, but it also makes it harder for us to show positive emotion on our faces, and it would be harder for us to tell when somebody else is happy. Because whether it’s on our face or someone else’s, a positive expression can look neutral to the average sleep-deprived person.
5. It can lead to hallucinations and psychosis.
Going without sleep for long periods of time can produce a range of experiences, including perceptual distortions and hallucinations. Psychotic symptoms develop the more we are awake. They can range from simple visual misperceptions to hallucinations and delusions and could end in a condition resembling acute psychosis. This can be resolved by getting enough sleep.
6. It can harm your brain.
Long-term effects of sleep deprivation are difficult to study in humans for ethical reasons, but lack of sleep has been linked to schizophrenia and dementia. Not only that, but according to this study, lack of sleep may shrink the brain. Healthy sleep is crucial to having a well-functioning brain.
7. It can make you gain weight.
A study that was conducted by doctors at the University of Chicago confirmed that there’s a connection between an increased appetite and a lack of sleep. They found that when sleep-deprived, people consumed more junk food and unhealthy snacks. One of the researchers, Dr. Hanlon, explained that if you’ve had enough sleep, you may be better at controlling your hunger, especially when you see junk food. But he also added that if we’re sleep-deprived, our drive for certain foods gets stronger, and our ability to resist them may get impaired.
What do you do when you can’t fall asleep? Have you ever experienced some of the side effects of lack of sleep?