Is something, or are some things keeping you up? Maybe you’ve had a lot of coffee than you normally do, or maybe you are having insomnia for some reason. If you are not getting the recommended hours of sleep a day, you won’t just feel tired, cranky, and moody the next day. Sleep deprivation has other effects too.
Sleep is an important part of everyday life. It is just as important as eating. The body won’t last for too long if left without sleep. In other words, it is crucial. But it isn’t just the hours of sleep that you get that should be paid attention to. It’s also the quality of it. Other than making the brain hazy, sleep deprivation can adversely affect other parts of the body as well.
The brain is a part of a bigger system called the Central Nervous System. Brain cells travel and function within it. A deprivation in sleep can cause fatigue in the brain.
During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well.
You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. The signals your body send may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and increasing your risk for accidents.
Sleep deprivation also negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. You may feel more impatient or prone to mood swings. It can also compromise decision-making processes and creativity.
Your immune system functions to protect the body from foreign invaders, especially pathogenic ones. It also works to fight such intruders.
While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. It uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness.
Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders, and it may also take you longer to recover from illness.
Sleep deprivation also negatively affects the respiratory system.
The relationship between sleep and the respiratory system goes both ways. A nighttime breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can interrupt your sleep and lower the quality.
As you wake up throughout the night, this can cause sleep deprivation, which leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu. Sleep deprivation can also make existing respiratory diseases worse, such as chronic lung illness.
Probably the most common thing we heard about sleep deprivation other than it having an adverse effect on the brain, is that it can cause overweight and obesity.
Along with eating too much and not exercising, sleep deprivation is another risk factor for becoming overweight and obese. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness.
Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night.
Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Insulin controls your blood sugar level. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Sleep affects your blood’s sugar levels, pressure, and the cardiovascular system’s inflammation levels.
Sleep affects processes that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, including your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart.
People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to get cardiovascular disease. One analysis linked insomnia to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Your endocrine system is the one responsible for producing hormones. Hormones are the ones that regulate physical, chemical, sexual, and growth processes in the body.
Hormone production is dependent on your sleep. For testosterone production, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first REM episode. Waking up throughout the night could affect hormone production.
This interruption can also affect growth hormone production, especially in children and adolescents. These hormones help build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues.
The pituitary gland releases growth hormones continuously, but sleep and exercise also help induce the release of this hormone.
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