It is not surprising for people to be irritable after a bad night’s sleep. If you’re the one who didn’t have enough amount of sleep, how would you feel?
We bet you’ll experience some of the most common effects such as a headache; it can make you grumpy, and may even let someone who lacks sleep experience back pain when you wake up in the morning. Did you know that it can do so many things when it comes to your physical and mental health?
In this article, we will give you some of the surprising but serious effects of sleep deprivation. Here are some of those:
- It may cause accidents
Did you know that behind the greatest disasters in the world history such as the oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska (also known as Exxon Valdez oil spill), the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 and much more massive accidents are commonly factored by one thing? Sleep deprivation.
Aside from that, it has been common that lack of sleep is also one factor in different road accidents. The feeling of being sleepy can have the same effect as drunk driving.
Studies also show that those who lack sleep causes more accidents in work and those who suffer from drowsiness has more sick days compared to those who had an adequate amount of sleep according to reports.
- Lack of sleep makes you dumb
A right amount of sleep plays a vital role when it comes to your cognitive function and learning. There are tons of adverse effects when you lack sleep. The not so serious type is when you can’t focus or concentrate, it also makes your attention span shorter than normal.
At night, the amount of sleep that you’re getting contributes to the consolidation of memories when you sleep. If you don’t sleep well that night, expect that you can’t remember tomorrow what you learned and gone through yesterday.
- Sleeping poorly ages your skin
Those who lack sleep for several nights may experience puffy eyes and yellowish skin. But eventually, it can lead to dull skin, some fine lines, and dark circles the eyes.
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep is that our body produces cortisol (a stress hormone). As a result, the protein that makes our skin glow and keeps it healthy, which is collagen, is broken into pieces by this stress hormone.
- Gain weight is another effect of inadequate amount of sleep
Many studies associated lack of sleep to obesity and increase in appetite. According to a survey conducted in 2004, those who sleep in less than six hours every day are more likely to gain weight and become obese than those who sleeps seven to nine hours a day.
Lack of sleep does not solely increase your appetite. It’s like a thing that also acts as a stimulant that makes you crave for food with high-fat content or highly carbonated food or drinks. Therefore, some programs for weight loss should be thinking about sleep deprivation as a factor and should be a necessary part of the program.
- Sleep deprivation affects our judgment
Unsurprisingly, we all know that when we lack sleep, we tend to have wrong interpretations of the events that are happening to us. As a result, it hurts our capability to make right decisions and judgments because we cannot evaluate the current situations fairly and it hinders us to think and function wisely.
Those who lack sleep may believe that this is not a serious issue, but it is (especially if you are someone who makes huge decisions as this may cause you big troubles in the future).
Deprivation of sleep is never good for someone. Inadequate amount of sleep is unhealthy; it may also lead to several unfortunate outcomes in the future. Make use of your beds at home. If your bed is the one that hinders you from sleeping, it may be best to change them.
Having a good night sleep has a huge effect than what we thought. It is best to give yourself enough time to revitalize and refresh you for you to perform your day-to-day tasks efficiently and swiftly.
In recent years, research has blamed a lack of sleep to everything from high blood pressure to cancer and obesity.
But it’s not just our physical health that suffers. Expert Dr. Chris Idzikowski reveals in his book Sound Asleep the latest thinking about sleep.
1. A good night’s sleep is vital for memory
We tend to see sleep as the body’s opportunity for stopping, but in truth it is one of the most active periods of the day (or, rather, night) for the brain, and it’s vital for memory, learning and brain function.
A complete adult sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes, and we go through four or five of these cycles in a healthy night’s sleep.
Each cycle is made up of distinct stages, characterized by different brainwaves.
We start with so-called “drowsy” sleep. During this time we’re crossing the threshold into slumber and we might experience dream-like hallucinations that appear at once real and fantastical.
Next, we move into light sleep, and then slow-wave or deep sleep.
Scientists have discovered that deep sleep, in particular, is when the brain consolidates declarative memories – our memory of facts and figures, events and occurrences.
During deep sleep, regions of the brain associated with memory and learning, specifically the hippocampus and the neo-cortex, communicate with one another. New information that has been temporarily stored in the hippocampus is transferred to the neo-cortex, where it becomes part of our long-term learning.
However, if you were thinking that this means you can play facts and figures into your brain as you sleep and expect to wake up with them permanently embedded, think again.
It appears that new information must have passed into the hippocampus at least an hour before you go to sleep.
We complete the sleep cycle by rising again to light sleep and then entering a period of REM (rapid eye movement), or dreaming sleep.
As the period of REM draws to a close, we experience a momentary waking before beginning the next 90-minute cycle of the night. In terms of brainwaves you’re awake, but your eyes likely won’t open and most people don’t even notice that they’ve risen to the surface of sleep before descending again into a new phase.
Overall, we spend up to 5% of the night in drowsy sleep, up to 50% in light sleep and up to 25% in deep sleep. Around 20% of the night is spent in REM sleep.
2. A good sleep helps you ride a bike
During REM or dreaming sleep, the brain shuts off the nerves that feed into the spinal column, temporarily paralyzing the body to prevent us acting out our dreams.
Not everything is paralyzed, though. During this stage, our eyes move benea
Expert Dr. Chris Idzikowski reveals in his book Sound Asleep the latest thinking about sleep
th our eyelids, our heart rate and blood pressure increase.
We don’t know quite why this happens, but one theory is that even though we don’t always recall them, dreams are intrinsically exciting and the body responds accordingly.
Studies have shown that REM sleep is essential for forming procedural memories (also called implicit memory or muscle memory). This is our record of how to do things using our motor skills, from doing up buttons to riding a bike or driving a car.
Over time, these skills feel automatic, so you don’t even have to actively remember how to do them.
One study showed that participants who were deprived of REM sleep after learning a new skill had impaired ability to perform that new skill when they woke up.
3. What food gives you vivid dreams?
Many people say that a ripe blue cheese will give you vivid dreams – but there doesn’t seem to be any scientific evidence for this.
On the other hand, a study in 2002 revealed tentative findings that vitamin B6 supplements might promote more vivid dreams.
It is thought that the vitamin converts amino acids into the brain chemical serotonin, which may be involved in dreams.
You can find B6 in such foods as avocados, Marmite, broad beans, bananas, molasses, salmon and herring.
4. Get more daylight to beat insomnia
Light is crucial for good sleep, so have a ritual of getting some daylight on to your face as soon as you wake up. Light receptors in the retina – the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye – send chemical messages to your brain to confirm that the morning is here and that it’s time to wake up.
This not only means you’ll start to wake up, it will also set your biological clock so that you feel sleepy at the right time in the evening, too.
Simply open the window and let the light flood your face for a few moments.
It’s a good idea to get a decent amount of daylight throughout the day, too.
A study published this month by Northwestern University in the U.S. found employees working in offices with windows slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than those in windowless workplaces.
The researchers said this was due to the first group having more light exposure.
5. Women’s body temperature is too high for sleep
In general, women need around 20 minutes more sleep than men in every 24-hour period.
No one is certain why this would be, but scientists at Loughborough University have hypothesized that in order to perform multiple, complex tasks simultaneously, women use more of their brains than men do, so they have greater need for consolidation time – and that means a greater need for sleep.
The bad news is that women are more likely to be sleep-deprived than men. One Canadian study found 35% of women said they have trouble sleeping, compared with only 25% of men.
Women tend to be lighter sleepers, disturbed more easily during the night than men. This may be partly a result of evolution.
When you’re asleep, certain brainwaves are emitted that dumb down your response to external stimuli such as noise. But the brain will let through any “essential” noise – such as the sound of your baby crying.
Another reason women are more likely to sleep badly is down to the menstrual cycle.
When the egg has been released from the ovarian follicle and the remnants of the follicle have released the hormone progesterone, a woman’s temperature rises by up to 0.4 C.
This slight increase can make a woman feel too hot in bed, making it harder to get to sleep or to stay asleep.
The menstrual cycle also disrupts a woman’s rhythms for releasing melatonin – the hormone that regulates your biological clock.
Interestingly, studies show that oral contraceptives reduce the amount of deep sleep women get and increase the amount of light sleep.
They also increase body temperature throughout the menstrual cycle (and even for a while after you stop taking the Pill), though it’s not clear why.
6. Why lack of sleep makes you hungry
If you have had too little sleep, your secretions of the hormone leptin may be up to a third lower than healthy sleepers.
Leptin is the “satiety” hormone, and helps us to feel full when our calorie intake has reached appropriate levels.
As a result, studies show you may consume roughly 900 calories a day more than you actually need in order to feel full.
7. Cool down to get to sleep
Your average body temperature is 37C, but over the course of the day it undergoes tiny fluctuations above and below the average of approximately 0.5C.
In a healthy adult, body temperature is at its highest around 11 p.m. After this peak, it begins to fall, and this is one of the triggers that we think tell the body that it’s time to sleep. Body temperature reaches its lowest point at around 4 a.m.
Research suggests that the best time for dropping into slumber is when body temperature is falling at its fastest. For this reason, sleep specialists recommend having a hot bath about 90 minutes before you try to sleep. Then, when you get out of the bath, your body temperature falls rapidly.
You should also keep your bedroom relatively cool.
8. No need for the bathroom at night
During sleep, nutrients continue to be absorbed from food we’ve eaten throughout the day, but activity in the intestines slows down.
Most importantly, the peristaltic waves that usually carry waste into the anal canal keep waste back, minimizing the need to get up. This is why we often need to go to the toilet first thing, when the system reverses again and the night’s waste is pushed on.
Increasing age can cause you to need the toilet more often during the night.
In men, this can be a sign of benign prostate enlargement or, more rarely, prostate cancer.
If you have noticed you are waking up several times a night to go to the bathroom, see your GP.
A Norwegian study has found that people who have trouble drifting off to sleep may be at increased risk of heart failure.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, followed more than 50,000 people for 11 years.
Scientists found those who suffered several nights of poor sleep were more likely to develop the condition, in which the heart fails to pump properly.
Experts say further research is needed to see if a lack of sleep causes heart failure or the link is more complex.
Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at more than 50,000 people aged between 20 and 89. At the beginning of the study, none of them were known to have heart failure.
In this condition the muscles of the heart are often too out of shape to do their job properly – they may be too weak or too stiff to pump blood around the body at the right pressure.
People with the disorder may feel increasingly breathless and exhausted.
And as heart failure worsens, it can be difficult to get a full night’s rest – but the Norwegian study is one of few to investigate whether poor sleepers without the condition are at risk of getting it in later life.
A Norwegian study has found that people who have trouble drifting off to sleep may be at increased risk of heart failure
During the research, the participants were asked whether they had any difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep and whether they felt fully restored after a night’s slumber.
People who had trouble falling asleep and remaining asleep each night were three times more likely to develop heart failure than those who reported no trouble sleeping.
Those who experienced substandard sleep that failed to leave them fully refreshed were also at risk.
And this link between a bad night’s sleep and heart failure remained true despite researchers taking smoking, obesity and other well known triggers of insomnia and heart problems into account.
The researchers say it is unclear exactly why poor sleep and heart failure are associated in this way.
Dr. Lars Erik Laugsand, lead author of the study, said: “We don’t know whether insomnia truly causes heart failure. But if it does, the good thing is it is a potentially treatable condition.
“So evaluating sleep problems might provide additional information in the prevention of heart failure.”
He suggests the lack of sleep may provoke harmful responses in the body.
“When you have insomnia your body releases stress hormones which in turn may effect the heart in a negative way,” he said.
The same team of researchers has previously reported a link between people prone to insomnia and heart attacks.
And diabetes, depression and poor brain function have all been linked to missing restful hours in bed.
People who regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep a night are at significantly increased risk of stroke, a study suggests.
Researchers found that those in middle age who skimped on sleep were more likely to suffer stroke symptoms than those who got at least nine hours of shut-eye – even if they were a healthy weight and with no family history of stroke.
More than 5,000 participants, who were between 45 and retirement age, were monitored for three years as part of the US study.
Those who slept for fewer than six hours were most likely to experience symptoms such as numbness or weakness down one side of their body, dizziness, loss of vision or a sudden inability to express themselves verbally or in writing.
People who regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep a night are at significantly increased risk of stroke, a study suggests
Scientists at the University of Alabama said the impact of sleep deprivation was a major one, even after taking into account age, weight and other known risks such as high blood pressure.
The participants were divided into five groups according to how many hours a night they slept. They were asked to report their symptoms every six months.
Co-author Virginia Howard, a professor of epidemiology, said: “Many people can have these symptoms and not recognize them as a precursor to having a stroke, and perhaps not even mention them to their doctor.
“Sleeping habits can exacerbate the potential for these symptoms, which are internationally recognized as putting people at extraordinary risk of subsequent stroke.”
It is already known that sleep apnea – a breathing problem which produces poor quality sleep – is linked to strokes.
A study of hundreds of thousands of participants by Warwick University last year also linked lack of sleep to increased incidence of both strokes and heart disease.
But the latest study focuses on the early symptoms of strokes, which are often ignored.
Prof. Virginia Howard’s team plans to continue monitoring the participants for several more years. She said: “It will be very interesting to see what the stroke rate is, and whether early detection may have helped.”
Dr. Megan Ruiter, lead author of the study, which will be presented today at the American Association of Sleep Medicine’s annual conference, speculated that lack of sleep could be a precursor to more traditional stroke risk factors.