Alaska Sleep Education Center

How Lack of Sleep Affects Us

Posted by Justin Osborne on Apr 16, 2019 11:33:00 AM

According to research by the Edubirdie, older adults up to 65+ need 7-8 hours of quality sleep, and newborns up to 3 months old need 14-17 hours.

That means having undistracted good night’s sleep is essential for your well-being. So, as you exercise and eat healthily, you should also get a good night’s sleep.


Unfortunately, most people aren’t able to get enough sleep because everyone is rushing to have a day’s task completed before the day ends. This leads to some people working until late at night.

That said, in this article, you will learn why you should get quality sleep and how sleep deprivation can affect your overall health.

Let’s get started.

Reasons We Sleep

  1. When We Sleep We Consume Fewer Calories.

The urge to eat is more when we are awake than when we are sleeping. And the foods we eat tend to contain more calories. Also when we sleep the hormones that regulate our appetite are not affected hence we don’t eat more calories.

  1. Boosts Concentration and Productivity

Sleep has a direct correlation with brain function. Our brains can perform and concentrate well when we get good sleep. So, if you lack sleep, you will become less productive and your concentration will also be affected.

A study was conducted on medical students and it was found that those who had extended work hours to more than 24 hours made too many serious medical errors than those who had more hours of sleep. 

In fact, most Australian assignment help services, are putting more emphasis on the importance of getting quality sleep for students. And that’s all for good reasons for students.

Good sleep improves our problem-solving skills and boosts memory activities to both young and older people but poor sleep can impair brain functions.

  1. Hormone Balance

Hormones grow when we are sleeping. Some of these hormones are necessary to help us heal when we have injuries. Lack of sleep can decrease the growth of these important hormones.

  1. Glucose and Blood Pressure Control

Cortisol is a hormone that helps us to escape from danger, especially in flight. But when cortisol goes up it becomes a problem. Lack of sleep elevates cortisol levels. Cortisol is also the alarm that wakes us up in the morning. In the morning, cortisol levels are high but go down throughout the day.

During the night when we do not get enough sleep, cortisol levels rise, and that even worsens our sleep habits.

The more the cortisol levels continue to rise, the more glucose levels rise and hence blood pressure goes up and that can lead to heart disease.

How We Are Affected By Lack of Sleepsleephealth2

If you have ever woken up feeling tired, cranky, and bored in the morning you must have a had a hard time sleeping the night before. But those are not the only implications of lack of sleep. It can cause more harm to your body than you may think.

Some people think that working till late hours is the best way to beat deadlines not knowing how they are compromising on everything.

A good and quality sleep re-energizes your body and rejuvenates your mind which ultimately boosts your day-to-day performance.

On the other side, lack of sleep can cause mental problems and can affect your physical health.

As your body needs food, water, and air to function optimally and so is the same with sleep. Sleep makes the body to heal itself and restore its functioning.

Some signs of lack of sleep include:

  • Morning fatigue
  • Bad temper
  • Yawning and more

Having said that, here is how we are affected by lack of sleep.

  • Lack of Sleep Impairs Digestive System

Most people think that obesity is only caused by eating too much and not exercising not knowing that lack of sleep is also another serious risk factor. Usually, we have two hormones that are affected when we sleep. These are leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for regulating hunger and fullness.

Leptin controls our eating habits. When we lack sleep, leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels go up so we feel the urge to eat even if we are not hungry. That’s why some people will wake up at night to eat.

Lack of sleep also causes our bodies to release more insulin after we eat. The more the body releases higher levels of insulin the more it increases our risk for type 2 diabetes.

  • Lack of Sleep Affects Our Heart

sleephealth1Lack of sleep cam impairs blood sugar, inflammation, and blood pressure levels. Lack of sleep also affects the ability to heal and repair blood vessels and the heart. Most cases of cardiovascular disease cases have been linked to lack of sleep.

  • Lack of Sleep Impairs Our Immune System

When we are asleep, our immune system releases protective substances. These substances are helpful to fight against disease and viruses. Cytokines also boost sleep thus reinforcing our immune system’s ability to safeguard our bodies against illnesses.

Lack of sleep impairs all these processes. This means our immune systems will not be able to fight against bacteria and viruses. This way, our bodies take longer to heal from sicknesses.

  • Lack of Sleep Impairs Our Central Nervous System

Sleep is important to keep our nervous systems functioning accordingly. However, lack of sleep can impair the way our central nervous systems coveys information to the body.

According to Steven Lawton, a dissertation editing expert and sleep specialist, lack of sleep drains our brain which affects the way we perform duties. It also affects our concentration and focus.

Sleep deprivation can also impair our mood swings and affect our decision-making capabilities.

  • Lack of Sleep Contributes to Aging of The Skin

Ever seen people with lackluster skin or dark circles under their eyes?

Well, while it could be caused by certain diseases, aging of the skin may also be a result of lack of sleep.

When we lack sleep, our bodies produce more of cortisol; a stress hormone. This hormone when released in excess it can break down the skin protein that is essential to keep the skin smooth and supple.

Lack of sleep can also impair the release of human growth hormones. These hormones are essential as they facilitate growth.

  • Decreased Fertility

According to sleep specialists, lack of sleep can cause lower libidos and sex drive. Moreover, lack of sleep can affect our ability to conceive. In fact, getting less sleep lowers levels of testosterone as well as the hormone that triggers ovulation and hence affecting our ability to conceive.

  • Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Accidents

This is, in fact, a serious thing to some of us who work with machines. According to research, lack of sleep leads to accidents and injuries at workplaces.

Also, lack of sleep can impair our speed and accuracy which can cause accidents on the roads.

The Bottom Line

In addition to eating healthy and exercise, getting quality sleep can boost your health tremendously. Therefore, it’s important to take care of sleep to achieve optimal health. 

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep clinic in the state.  Request your free sleep assessment today to improve your health and your life!

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About the author: Justin is a teacher from Leicester, England, UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing, and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as an editor at the writing custom essay writing service  and Nerdywriters. Follow Justin on Facebook or tweet him @JustinJOsborne.

Topics: health, sleep test

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