Insufficient sleep: These 5 things happen when you don’t get enough sleep

Consequences of lack of sleep
These 5 things happen when you don’t get enough sleep

© Ivan Kruk / Shutterstock

Most of us are familiar with occasional sleep disorders. However, if we get too little sleep over the long term, it can be extremely damaging to our health. These can be the consequences of lack of sleep.

How much sleep we need to be fit and productive is very individual. For some people six hours are enough, others need nine to ten hours of sleep. For most of us, seven to eight hours are optimal to regenerate completely.

We probably all know how weak and tired we feel after a bad night’s sleep, or even a couple of nights. It should come as no surprise to us what health consequences it can have if we don’t get enough sleep over a long period of time.

This is what happens in the body when you get too little sleep

1. You become more sensitive

Little sleep ensures that we react more sensitively to sensory stimuli. We can no longer distinguish between important and unimportant stimuli so well. Loud noises, such as signal tones, can then stress us significantly more. Incidentally, this is similar to the behavior of schizophrenia patients: Your brain also has a hard time separating the important from the unimportant.

2. Your concentration drops

But it has even more consequences for our brain when we don’t get enough sleep. Since it cannot regenerate sufficiently, difficulties in concentrating and forgetfulness are usually the result. We save our memories – including everything we learned that day – during the deep sleep phases. If we don’t have enough of it or the phases are too short, this has a negative effect on the performance of our brain. Typically, if we don’t sleep well, we tend to make sentence structure errors and forget words.

3. You may gain weight

While we sleep, our bodies release satiety hormones such as leptin. If he didn’t, we’d probably wake up at night from hunger. Because the night is the longest phase of the day that we can do without food. When we don’t sleep, our body doesn’t release these satiating substances – instead it produces more appetizing hormones like ghrelin. The result: We are more hungry.

When we haven’t slept much, our body craves foods that are rich in fat and carbohydrates. Perhaps you also know it: the typical hangover hunger for fast food … Because these foods provide us with energy very quickly – but this only lasts for a short time, so that we quickly get hungry again. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and thus increase the risk of obesity, which is dangerous to health.

4. The skin ages faster

When we lack sleep, our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol. And that in turn attacks our skin structure. It becomes thinner, loses its elasticity and dries out. This contributes to premature skin aging and increased wrinkling.

5. Your risk of disease increases

If we don’t sleep enough, we increase the risk of various diseases. When we lack sleep, our heart rate rises and the body temperature drops. That weakens our immune system. Among other things, this increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis, a heart attack or stroke. That shows a Meta-analysis of various studies.

Other potential negative health consequences include high blood pressure and a slowdown in blood sugar breakdown. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Too little sleep is not only harmful to the body, it also increases the risk of mental illnesses such as depression.

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