Home Lifestyle 40 Troubling Ways Sleep Deprivation Harms People

40 Troubling Ways Sleep Deprivation Harms People

Shannon June 6, 2019

When people get busy with work and life obligations, one of the first things that usually suffers the most is someone’s sleep schedule. Studies have shown that adults need 9 hours of sleep, but very few people actually get that much shut-eye. These are 30 things that can happen to you if you are suffering from sleep deprivation.

Losing sleep may mean you have a higher risk of cancer. Credit: Shutterstock

40. Increase Your Risk of Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, night shift hospital workers had an increased risk of cancer compared to people with a traditional 9-5 schedule. According to the study, “Exposure to light at night suppresses the physiologic production of melatonin, a hormone that has antiproliferative effects on intestinal cancers.” It also increases the potential for women to get breast cancer.

Losing sleep can lead to wrinkles. Credit: Shutterstock

39. Premature Aging

Without sleep, your body and skin cannot heal from sun damage or anything else. If you are a teenager who is prone to acne, sleep will also lead to more breakouts. The skin will become dryer, which can also lead to flaking, and generally looking much older the next morning. If you are trying to look younger, drink plenty of water, sleep, and get into a good skincare routine.

It’s called “midnight snack” for a reason. Credit: Shutterstock

38. Impulse Control

When people lose out on sleep, they tend to have less impulse control. This means more snacking, cigarettes, drinking, and anything else that is terrible to put in our bodies. Because of this, less sleep will ultimately lead to weight gain and other health problems linked to these bad habits.

The less you sleep, the more often you’ll get sick. Credit: Shutterstock

37. Lowers the Immune System

Your body heals itself when you are sleeping, so it only makes sense that if you are not getting enough shut-eye, you cannot fight off illnesses as easily. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you can make up for your lack of sleep by taking naps whenever you possibly can. You can also take vitamins to boost your immune system, like Airborne.

If you stay up late at night, it can be a lonely experience. Credit: Shutterstock

36. Loneliness

If you are staying up all hours of the night, the chance that you are spending that time with other people is slim-to-none, unless you have friends in other time zones. By spending more and more time alone, you will begin to feel lonely. However, if you were to go to sleep at a decent hour, wake up, and go to work, you will be surrounded by people during the time that you are conscious. This will help your brain recognize that you truly do get enough social interaction.

A lack of sleep can make you very moody. Credit: Shutterstock

35. Moodiness

It will come to a surprise to no one that if you don’t sleep, you’re going to be very moody. Being in a bad mood can hurt the quality of your personal relationships, and getting along with your co-workers. Sometimes, if you are in an awful mood, all it takes to feel better is to take a nap. There is a reason why the phrase “let me sleep on it” exists.

Without sleep, your reaction time will be way off. Credit: Shutterstock

34. Slower Reaction Times

The more tired you are, the slower your reaction time will be. This is especially important if you are trying to play sports, driving a car, or doing anything that will required physical dexterity.

A lack of sleep will contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Credit: Shutterstock

33. Early Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Alzheimer’s Disease will affect the quality of sleep that someone has. This is also a “chicken or the egg” sort of scenario, because some researchers believe that poor sleeping habits may contribute to the deterioration of the brain, and it may be one of the culprits for causing the disease in the first place. People with Alzheimer’s are more likely to have insomnia and sleep apnea, which only contributes to them having all of the other issues mentioned on this list.

Losing sleep can cause an extreme amount of anxiety. Credit: Shutterstock

32. Anxiety

Anxiety is an excessive amount of worry. This can become so extreme, you may no longer wanted to drive a car, go in a crowded place, or even leave the house. If you already have a problem with anxiety, losing sleep and trying to make up for it by drinking caffeine will only make the issue so much worse. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it takes at least 6 hours for your body to go through half of the caffeine you consume. So, if you have an afternoon pick-me-up, there will still be caffeine lingering in your system well into the night.

Poor sleep can negatively affect your genes. Credit: Shutterstock

31. Genetic Activity

Scientists have discovered that certain sleeping disorders are genetic, like narcolepsy, sleep walking, and restless leg syndrome. However, there are also environmental factors at play. If you know that your family has a history of insomnia or any other issues, make sure to combat it with healthy habits. This may affect your children, as well. As a parent, make sure to monitor your children’s sleep.

People who don’t sleep are more likely to catch a cold. Credit: Shutterstock

30. Catching a Cold

Since losing sleep can lower your immune system, this means that you will catch the common cold far more often than a normal person. On the flip side, if you are making sure that you get 9 hours of slumber every single night, eat well, and drink a lot of water, you can probably fight off sickness more often than your friends and family.

You are more likely to get high blood pressure if you lose sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

29. High Blood Pressure

Losing sleep can cause stress, and stress can cause high blood pressure. If you are experiencing this, you might hear whooshing sounds or your own heart beat when you are trying to get to sleep. This is all part of a vicious cycle. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to see a doctor, but it is also possible to control it on your own. Try to meditate, breathe deeply, and clear your mind before going to bed. Remind yourself that no matter what stressful thoughts may be running through your head, it can all wait to be dealt with in the morning.

You might fall asleep in your car and get into an accident. Credit: Shutterstock

28. Car Accidents

Driving while tired is almost just as dangerous as driving drunk. If you nod off at the wheel, you can cause a car accident, and even potentially kill yourself and those around you. The likelihood of you getting pulled over by the police is high, as well. Remember that “Sorry officer, I’m just tired” is not a valid excuse. You can still get a ticket.

You will get more headaches if you lose sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

27. Headaches

According to Excedrin, more than half of people who suffer from serious headaches and severe migraines are sleep-deprived. Staying up late to work and putting yourself under a lot of stress can manifest in your brain hurting a lot. So if you find yourself having frequent pains in your brain, be sure to take a break- or better yet- a nap.

If you lose sleep, you will become cranky and irritated. Credit: Shutterstock

26. Irritability

Just about every single person on the planet has experienced losing sleep, and becoming a grumpy person the next morning. The less we sleep, the easier we feel irritated by other people. This can lead to arguments, and damaging our personal relationships.

Beware insomnia leading to bad decisions. Credit: Shutterstock

25. Bad Decision Making

Sleep deprivation has been linked to bad decision-making. This can come in the form of gambling, smoking, or over-eating. If you find that your life is totally a mess, ask yourself- How much do you sleep? There is a reason why people say they will “sleep on it” before making a big decision.

Your joints will become inflamed if you lose out on sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

24. Inflammation

Inflammation can lead to painful joints, headaches, difficulty walking, and so much more. Your body will not be able to head properly without sleep. If you are suffering from inflammation, you probably also need to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink water, and take ibuprofen for relief.

Short-term memory is necessary for studying. Credit: Shutterstock

23. Short-Term Memory

When we study, we rely on our short-term memory. After all, most people will study for a test, and then forget a lot of the material after the test is over. However, this becomes a huge issue, especially for college students who are up late partying. Lack of sleep means your memory is suffering. A study from Education Next revealed that schools experimented by beginning the school day later, and it helped students get better test results.

If you don’t sleep, it’s all too easy to forget things. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Long-Term Memory

Do you find yourself forgetting things like names, directions, and common facts? If you struggle remembering even the smallest things, you may be suffering from sleep deprivation.

Insomnia has been linked to bed wetting in children and adults. Credit: Shutterstock

21. Bed Wetting

Scientists have concluded that sleep deprivation leads to “excess nocturnal urine production.” If you are an adult, this may mean getting up multiple times to use the bathroom. For kids, this means wetting the bed. If your children are having an issue with this, make sure they have a regularly scheduled bedtime, and that they are getting a peaceful night’s sleep.

Insomnia may be linked to heart disease. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Heart Disease

So many scientific studies have been done showing that there is absolutely no doubt that hypertension and cardiovascular disease are linked to sleep deprivation. In Japan, this epidemic has been called “Karoshi”, which means “death from over-working. Scientists from around the globe know that sleep deprivation increases sympathetic nervous system activity, which in turn will hurt your heart.

Sleep deprivation is linked to hallucinations. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Hallucinations

If you go without sleep for an extended period of time, you just might start seeing things. Hallucinations are not always as crazy as what you see in the movies. They might be shadows, fractals, or orbs floating in your eyes. Migraine headaches can also cause hallucinations, and this is linked to sleep as well. If you already suffer from any mental health issues, losing sleep can only contribute to these negative factors.

It’s possible to develop stomach problems if you don’t sleep enough. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Gastrointestinal Issues

The amount of sleep you get every night helps to regular your metabolism, as well as your bowels. Gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux and irritable bowl syndrome have been linked to sleep deprivation. People who suffer from these problems may wake up in the middle of the night because of the acidity in their stomachs, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Losing sleep will lower your sex drive significantly. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Lower Sex Drive

There has been a link between sleep deprivation and a lower libido. First of all, losing sleep will make your testosterone levels lower, so the hormones that make you want to do the deed are decreased. If you are physically exhausted, in a bad mood, and generally cranky, the odds of you making love with your partner are likely to go down, as well. If this is an issue for you, try to communicate with your partner about your sleeping issues, and work on a solution together.

Losing sleep can cause serious issues with your vision. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Vision Issues

Losing sleep can lead to eye spasms, twitching, and blurred vision throughout the day. It can also lead to eye dryness, which is especially difficult when you wear contact lenses. When you have vision problems, it can also lead to headaches and difficulty concentrating, as well. Another way vision is linked to sleep is looking at bright cellphone screens at night. Our brains see white light, and they think it’s the daytime. So if you are having these problems, put your phone away before bed time.

A lack of sleep can lead to muscle atrophy. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Muscle Atrophy

After you lift weights at the gym, your muscles need to recover in order to grow bigger and stronger. If you get less sleep, your hormones will begin to get off-kilter. Your cortisol will increase, while testosterone will decrease. Just like healing from an injury, your body needs a lot of sleep to make your muscles grow. If you are attempting to be a body builder, get a six-pack, or just generally get more toned, make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep.

Losing sleep can cause you to be clumsy. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Clumsiness

When you lose sleep, it lowers your reaction time, and it makes it much harder to think clearly. This can lead to becoming clumsy. You may walk into things, drop things, or stumble over your words. This behavior can be obnoxious to other people, but it may also lead to something more serious, like losing your job. We live in a world where people commonly have multiple side-hustles in order to survive. However, if you work yourself too hard and find yourself slipping up and making mistakes, you may want to reconsider.

Lack of sleep can lead to depression and sadness. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Depression

It is very difficult to be happy when you are sleep deprived. People who are depressed often report feeling sleepy throughout the day. This can result in feeling detached and not able to enjoy life to the fullest. A vast majority of people who suffer from depression also have insomnia. Some believe that this is a vicious cycle where one issue feeds into the other. So, if you feel depressed, give yourself a day to rest and sleep, and try to get into a good sleep schedule. For some people, this will not be enough to completely cure the problem, but it will help tremendously.

Losing sleep can increase your risk of diabetes. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Diabetes

Even if you are not overweight, medical researchers have found a link between sleep disorders and Type 2 Diabetes. Losing sleep increases your risk of insulin resistance, as well as throwing off your body’s metabolism. Obesity can also lead to other sleep disorders like snoring, sleep apnea, and more.

If you need to study, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Losing Focus

Whether you are trying to study or work on a complicated issue in your career, sleep is essentially for focusing and thinking clearly. When you are sleep deprived, your brain will no longer function the way it should. In today’s world, issues like ADD are medicated almost immediately, without considering the sleeping habits of the child. If you have problems paying attention, try to give yourself a healthy sleep schedule, and stick to it.

If you are injured, it will take longer to heal when you don’t sleep enough. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Delayed Healing

Your body heals from its wounds when it is sleeping. So, if you have a broken bone, a cut, or anything else that needs to heal, you need to sleep more in order to get back to normal. If you push yourself to lose sleep, you will only take longer to heal from an injury or illness.

Losing sleep can make you slur your words. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Speaking Clearly

One of the consequences of sleep deprivation is that it inhibits your ability to speak clearly. One study showed that volunteers who stayed awake for 36 hours straight began to slur their words, and could barely speak- much like someone who is very drunk. Of course, it will never get this bad if you only slept 5 hours instead of 9. However, it still may contribute to you not being at your best. Maybe you’ll forget a few words here and there. So, next time you have a public speaking event, be sure to get a good night’s sleep.

Pain and sleep are closely linked to one another. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Coping with Pain

People who suffer with chronic pain often wake up in the middle of the night, because their symptoms are too much to handle. However, many studies have shown that a lack of sleep contributes to a lowered pain tolerance. So, it is actually a vicious cycle. There may be other causes of pain during sleep, like a bad mattress.

Snoring can wake you and your partner up. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Snoring

Oh, snoring…You’re awful. Snoring is caused by vibrations in the throat, and it is more common in people who are overweight or have breathing issues. If you have a partner who snores, you already know that it is almost impossible to fall asleep. And if you the one who is snoring, you may even wake yourself up in the middle of the night. According to SleepEducation.org, around 40% of men and 24% of women snore. There are several methods to combating snoring- from quitting alcohol, eating right, losing weight, and changing sleeping positions.

People with sleep apnea lose oxygen in the middle of the night. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Sleep Apnea

Similar to snoring, sleep apnea is when someone suddenly stops breathing in the middle of the night. Cutting off oxygen to the body is extremely harmful, and it may even lead to death. Sleep Apnea is more common in people who are overweight or morbidly obese. According to SleepEducation.org, sleep apnea is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The less you sleep, the sooner you will die. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Increase Likelihood of Death

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you lose sleep, you’re cutting down your life expectancy, similar to smoking cigarettes. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can take years off of your life. It really should not be that surprising, considering how many other health issues it has a part in.

Obviously, if you don’t sleep enough, you will be tired during the day. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Sleepiness During the Day

It should come as no surprise that if you don’t get enough sleep throughout the day, it will result in feeling sleepy throughout the work day. You might find yourself nodding off at your desk, or desperately wanting to take a nap in the early afternoon.

When you lose sleep, it is so much harder to keep up a daily routine. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Daily Routines

When you think of healthy habits, what comes to mind? Maybe it involves a morning run, a cup of coffee, and a full breakfast before heading to work early. Having a daily routine is linked to increased levels of happiness and productivity. However, if you’re dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, you probably can’t imagine running a mile before work.

You may gain weight if you are losing sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Weight Gain

We already mentioned a few times on this list that losing sleep means that you will have less impulse control. This can lead you to eating unhealthy foods, and this will ultimately lead to you gaining weight. This can also hurt your metabolism, so your food will not digest properly. Overall, it is best to get a good night’s sleep when you are on a diet. Even better- get a good workout so that you feel tired enough to have a good night’s sleep.

Losing sleep has been linked to having a stroke. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Stroke

According to the National Stroke Association, more than half of stroke victims have serious sleep problems. This will only make matters worse, since this can lead to the elderly patients falling in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, or have less time asleep where the body is healing. Since losing sleep is also linked to heart issues, it would make sense that sleep problems could have contributed to the stroke happening in first place, too.