5 Ways Lack of Sleep Affects You

multicultural group young adults at meeting one person yawning because lack of sleep


We've all heard that we need to get eight hours of sleep every night to help our mental and physical health. But why is that? What kind of an affect can our sleep actually have on us? Here's a look at some of the biggest ways a lack of sleep can negatively affect your life.

Increases Risk of Severe Medical Conditions

If you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or suffer from chronic sleep loss, you're at heightened risk for serious medical conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes are all problems you could develop if your body isn't getting enough time to rest and reset each night.

Decreases Immunity

In addition to serious chronic conditions, your overall immunity decreases with a lack of sleep. When you sleep, your body releases cytokines, proteins that help your body fight off illnesses. Not only are you more likely to get sick if you get less sleep, but you're also going to have a longer recovery period after your illness.

Impairs Mental State

A lack of sleep can have huge negative affects on your mental state. When you're sleep-deprived, you are more likely to suffer from impaired judgement. Patients who report a lack of sleep are also more likely to report feeling depressed. You may feel, after a while, that you've gotten used to functioning on little sleep. But the truth is, your judgement and mental state are not in top shape if you're not getting the sleep your body needs.

Increases Appetite

Did you know that getting enough sleep at night is correlated to weight loss? If you're trying to lose weight, you may be tempted to skip out on an hour or two of sleep to dedicate more time to the gym. While going to the gym is great, you should balance that with good sleep. Recent research also shows that there is a link between the amount of sleep we get and the peptides in our bodies that regulate our appetite. Not getting enough sleep? You probably don't have enough peptides to really regulate your hunger, either, and are more likely to indulge in some not-so-healthy snacks.

Ages You

Those bags beneath your eyes? They're probably due to lack of sleep, and they age you. If you're not getting high-quality sleep, your body may also be releasing the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol breaks down collagen and can cause skin that looks sallow, dry, and wrinkled. When we're asleep, our body also releases human growth hormone, which essentially helps battle the wear and tear our bodies experience throughout the day.

What does this all boil down to? Your eight hours of good sleep are sacred! Make sure you're getting them, and if you're not, talk to the team at Sleep Better Austin. We can help you determine if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea and can help treat you. Call today to schedule an appointment.