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What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

Everyone knows that we need eight hours or more of sleep every night to fully function. If we miss a day here or there, it isn’t so bad, but if we regularly miss sleep, our health starts to suffer.

Impaired Cognitive Functions

This is the first sign of sleep deprivation and probably one of the more annoying. It ranges from general brain fog to impaired decision making, longer response time, memory problems and difficulty processing new information. Stringing words together into complete sentences can also be difficult and who doesn’t have a new mom story that involves impaired cognitive functions of some sort?

Increased Risk Of Accidents

Due to all that brain fog and longer response time, people who are sleep deprived are more accident prone. This can range from small harmless accidents like spilling coffee on the counter to more serious accidents like car collisions. There are some professions—such as the medical field—where a lack of sleep can be the difference between life and death.

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The Scales Don’t Lie

One of the beauties of sleep is that it helps to regulate our weight and keep us slim. When we start to miss hours of sleep, it can show up at the weekly weigh-in and increase our risk of obesity. A trick for safe weight-loss while sleeping is to turn the air conditioning on at night. A colder room helps to burn more calories as our body keeps us warm.

Diabetes And Insulin Resistance

While we sleep, our bodies release hormones which control appetite, metabolism and glucose processing. A lack of sleep can throw these out of whack and increase the stress hormone cortisol which, when combined with lower levels of insulin, can raise our risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes from too much glucose in the blood.

Lower Libido

A lack of deep, restful sleep can start to interfere with every aspect of our lives—especially what occurs in the bedroom. Not only aren’t we getting enough sleep but now we aren’t in the mood for anything more enjoyable. Our hormone levels are suffering and keeping us turned off and moody which is not conductive to martial activities at all.

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Heart Disease

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep correlates with increased heart activity which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Our body is signaling to us that something is wrong and we need to fix it before the problem escalates.

Physical Appearance

If looks are important to us, then we know we need our beauty sleep—which is sleep on top of the required eight hours. If we start to miss regular sleep, our eyes get puffy and saggy; our skin suffers and begins to appear aged. In short, things don’t look so good when we are running on fumes.

Fertility Takes A Hit

Similar to how our libido has nosedived after a lack of sleep, our chances of procreating are also suffering. If we are trying to conceive, we need to make sure we are getting enough sleep. Partly so we are actually in the mood but also, so our bodies release the hormones needed to ovulate on time.

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Stressed Out

Remember that hormone cortisol? That is the stress hormone. It can wreak havoc in our lives if left unchecked. When we are tired of being stressed out all the time and are looking to reduce stress, making sure we get eight or more hours of sleep every night can have a massive impact on stress reduction.

Mood Swings

Because we aren’t sleeping and our bodies are suffering from the lack of sleep to reset and restore everything to healthy levels, our hormones are out of balance. This can cause further stress and upset in other areas of our lives. We are more moody with a short fuse and indecisive about what we want to why we are reacting this unpredictably to things.


That’s right. If we go more than 72 hours without sleep, we become so sleep deprived and cognitively impaired that we begin to hallucinate. If we thought driving was dangerous before, it is now nearly impossible to do so safely. Hallucinations can be dangerous and are rarely fun. It is definitely time to clock out and get some serious shut-eye.

Caffeine Addiction Increase

When we miss sleep, we reach for a cup of coffee. After several cups of coffee a day and no extra sleep, we start to reach for stronger caffeinated substances like energy drinks, energy shots and extra caffeinated vitamin B shots—in addition to the regular coffee we keep sipping. This develops a caffeine addiction which can further impact our ability to fall asleep. Other substances may also be abused at this time in an effort to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation.

Lowered Immunity Levels

Our immune system is recharged while we sleep and it protects us from viruses and infections. When we aren’t getting enough sleep, our hormones are suffering, and our immune system can’t reset and recover. Defenses are lowered, and germs, bacteria, and infection can begin to take root and further wreck havoc in our lives. A weak immune system puts us at risk for developing multiple diseases, colds, infection, and some cancers.

A Rise Of Inflammation

For those with an autoimmune disorder, sleep is a crucial part of the puzzle that is often overlooked. When there is a lack of sleep, the immune system is lowered, and hormone levels are thrown out of whack. The body isn’t regulating the metabolism or glucose processing, and all of this can contribute to a rise in painful inflammation in the body.

Mental Disorders

A lack of quality sleep has been connected to an increase in anxiety levels and depression in some people. Depression and anxiety can then keep us up at night which keeps us from getting more sleep, further raising our anxiety and depression levels until we are locked in a vicious cycle.

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