Spending a night tossing and turning usually means spending the next day tired, cranky, and disoriented. Missing out on a good night’s sleep has immediate effects, like lack of productivity or bad mood. But missing out on more than one night, being sleep deprived more often than not, has some serious long-term effects on the mind and body.
Sleep deprivation can be caused by many things in our lives: from depression, grief, or anxiety, to college, a job, and even a newborn baby. It can be easy to underestimate the body’s need for the proper amount of sleep, until we start to experience dangers that we could otherwise avoid with a good night’s sleep.
The body needs sleep just as it needs air and food to function at its best. It is during sleep that the body restores chemical imbalance, and the brain retains memories. While we know that not sleeping can make us grumpy and foggy, we may not be aware of the effects it has on our sex life, health, memory, and even our ability to lose weight. The dangers of sleep deprivation are detailed below.
It Causes Accidents:
There are an estimated 100,000 road accidents in the U.S. each year that are caused by driver fatigue. Sleep loss is a big public safety hazard because drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. Studies also show that poor-quality sleep and depravation can lead to accidents on the job or at home.
It Harms Our Immune System:
Too little sleep can weaken your immune system’s defenses against viruses like those that cause the common cold and flu. Lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
When you are deprived of sleep, the chemicals that signal your brain that you are full are off balance. The levels of the hunger hormone called ghrelin increases, which can cause you to crave sweet, salty, and starchy foods. Research also found that there is a 50% higher risk for obesity if you get less than 5 hours of sleep nightly.
It Increases the Risk of Dementia:
Because the brain is not able to recuperate well enough during sleep, the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease increases. A continued pattern of little to no sleep can also increase the risk of depression, irritability, and anxiety, while aging the brain 3 to 5 years.
It Kills Sex Drive:
Research has found that not getting enough sleep can have profoundly negative effects on a person’s libido, given that it reduces the levels of testosterone in the body. Considering that testosterone plays a key role in a person’s sex drive, it is integral to get some sleep! In the same research, it was also found that women who got enough sleep reported better arousal during sexual intercourse.