From experience, everyone knows that you feel tired, groggy, and exhausted throughout the day when you don’t get enough sleep. But did you know that sleep deprivation affects your body in several other vitally important ways also?
At Quality Sleep Shops, we care about the sleep you get. And we are here to help you understand why doing our part to help you get the best sleep possible is our priority!
Here are 5 ways sleep deprivation affects your body:
The first significant way sleep deprivation affects the body is by compromising the integrity of the central nervous system. The central nervous system is the “command center” of your body, and it needs sleep to function properly.
Your brain forms pathways between neurons when you sleep. That is how your brain learns and retains information and sends signals throughout the rest of your body. Lasting insomnia can impair the way your brain stores and processes this information, becoming the root cause of a host of troublesome symptoms and problems.
Just to name a few, some of the ways sleep deprivation manifests in the central nervous system are:
The next significant way sleep deprivation affects your body is by impairing your immune system.
Your body uses the time you sleep to produce infection-fighting substances such as antibodies and cytokines that protect your body from infections and viruses. These defending substances build up in your immune system while you sleep to help it become more efficient at fighting off illnesses. So if you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system won’t be functioning at a high level to fight off and heal quickly from invasive foreign agents. This leaves you to be more prone to maladies such as:
So, essentially, you get sick easier and heal more slowly if you are sleep-deprived. For the past year, we’ve all been using simple methods such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing our hands for 20 seconds to help protect ourselves and others from new infections. But we should also add to this list: getting a full night’s rest!
Sleep deprivation also negatively affects your digestive system. By now we all know that a poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to being overweight and obesity. But did you know that sleep deprivation is also a leading factor causing these conditions?
Sleep deprivation disrupts the insulin response in your body. This leads to unregulated blood sugar levels resulting in weight gain and leading to diabetes.
Not getting enough sleep also affects your body’s levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin. These little guys are responsible for your appetite being suppressed or stimulated, respectively. In laymen’s terms: leptin makes you feel hungry and ghrelin makes you feel full. So when these hormones are affected by lack of sleep it can cause you to over-eat, making you gain extra weight.
Additionally, in a more practically applicable sense, sleep deprivation makes you feel tired and much less motivated to choose healthy activities such as exercising.
Another critical way sleep deprivation affects your body is by putting your cardiovascular system at risk.
Just as with your immune system, your body uses the time you sleep to repair and heal your blood vessels and heart
Processes that regulate your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels are all also directly affected by the amount of sleep your body gets. Over time, this will impact the overall health of your heart and blood vessels.
People who regularly don’t get enough sleep or are afflicted with chronic insomnia are at a much higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, or even having a heart attack or stroke.
Finally, sleep deprivation affects your body by disrupting the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce and secrete hormones that the body uses for a wide range of many of your body’s functions, including:
Hormone production is dependent not just on the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of the sleep you get also. This means achieving full REM sleep each night. The same holds true for the production of growth hormones in adolescents to build muscle mass and repair tissues and cells, which is why that age group generally requires more sleep than the average adult.
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