What Are the Effects of Sleep Deprivation?

We all know how one bad night of sleep can affect our ability to function the next day. But have you considered the long-term effects of sleep deprivation?

Read on to understand how chronic sleep loss can make life harder.

Sleep Deprivation Can Make You Dumber

When your body experiences normal sleep cycles the brain works hard to consolidate and process information and memories. But when your sleep is interrupted or shortened your brain can’t complete these important tasks. That means it works at a deficit while you’re awake, trying to process information that it should have done while you were snoozing.

Sleepiness can also slow down your skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, concentration, reasoning, and alertness. 

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, consider taking a home sleep test to determine if you’re getting enough restful sleep each night. Home sleep tests involve wearing a simple device throughout the night while you sleep. It collects data about your sleep patterns including heart rate and blood oxygen levels. 

These tests can help diagnose sleep disorders, which is the best way to start your healing process.

Sleepiness is Linked to Numerous Health Problems

Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to a multitude of serious health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Strokes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure

And that’s only a few on the list. Some estimates show that most people with sleep disorders also suffer from another serious health condition too. 

Drowsiness Causes Accidents

We all know that sleep deprivation takes a toll on your body’s ability to function normally. But did you know it can increase your chance of getting into a serious accident too?

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year drowsy drivers are responsible for 72,000 car crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths every year. And they say those numbers are an underestimate. Other estimates say that up to 6,000 fatal car accidents a year are related to drowsy driving. 

Sleep Deprivation Can Worsen Your Chances of Experiencing Depression

A recent study showed that people with insomnia were 5 times more likely to experience depression than those who didn’t have insomnia. Most insomniacs reported getting less than 6 hours of sleep every night. 

Depression and insomnia often exacerbate each other’s symptoms. Depression often makes it more difficult to get restful sleep and insomnia increases your risk for depression. 

Luckily, treatment for either condition can often help improve the symptoms of the other.  

People With Sleep Problems Also Deal With Skin Issues

Not only does your sleep deprivation affect the inside of your body, but it also makes the outside look worse too. Chronic loss of sleep has been linked to dull skin, loss of elasticity, an increase of fine lines and wrinkles, and semi-permanent dark eye circles. 

Premature aging is often the result of irregular sleep cycles or too little sleep at night. 

Don’t Fall Victim to the Effects of Sleep Deprivation

The effects of sleep deprivation don’t have to be your reality. Begin today to change your sleeping habits. Consider taking a home sleep test if you think you may have a sleeping disorder.

What will you do to combat sleep deprivation? Browse the Health section of this site for some tips on how to fall asleep and stay asleep easier. 

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