5 Things That Can Happen When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

Monday, December 28, 2020


Most people understand that getting enough sleep each night is important. There are so many benefits, from feeling more energized to reducing your stress levels.

And, the reality is that most people want to get enough sleep. But, that doesn’t always feel possible. You might have an exceptionally busy life. Maybe you work full-time, or you’re a full-time parent. Maybe your schedule is always jam-packed. Or, maybe you have the best of intentions when it comes to getting enough sleep, but you find yourself staying up late playing on your phone or watching television.

Healthy adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re getting less than that, you could be facing some big problems. Not getting enough sleep can cause more than just tiredness. It can negatively impact your health.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few things that can happen when you don’t get enough sleep, so you can start to make it a priority.


1. It Can Lead to Accidents and Injuries

Did you know that sleep depravation is one of the most common causes of accidents on the job? When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t functioning the way it should. Your reaction times are delayed, and you won’t be able to focus.

So, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk of making a mistake that could cost you, or others, their lives.

2. It Disrupts Your Thinking

Not only does a lack of sleep cause you to lose focus, but it can actually “dumb down” your thought processes.

Sleep and cognitive thinking go hand-in-hand. Without enough sleep, you’ll have difficulty concentrating, reasoning, and problem-solving. It can also be harder to remember things, even if you’re trying to draw on information you already know. Obviously, that makes it much harder to get through your day,w hether you’re trying to do your job or simply have a conversation with someone.

3. It Can Cause Your Health to Suffer

Most people understand some of the short-term health effects of sleep loss. You might feel less energy or fatigued. But, over time, not getting enough sleep can lead to more serious health issues, including an increased risk of:

Heart disease/heart failure


High blood pressure


Chronic sleep loss can severely affect your health, so if you consider yourself to have an issue like insomnia or you simply can’t get to sleep each night, finding ways to remedy your situation is important. You can try sleeping tips for a better night’s rest. But, in some cases, you may need to seek out the help of a doctor or professional to manage your sleep health.

4. It Impacts Your Mental Health

Sleep depravation does more than impact your physical health. It can play a large role in your mental health, too.

A lack of sleep can lead to depression or anxiety. In fact, those who suffer from insomnia are often also diagnosed with depression. Unfortunately, the two conditions are cyclical; not getting enough sleep can cause you to feel more depressed, and feelings of depression can lead to a lack of sleep.

If you feel as though your mental health is suffering due to a lack of sleep, it’s important to seek out the help of a professional as soon as possible.

5. It Can Cause Weight Gain

While the amount of time you sleep doesn’t directly cause you to gain weight, it can cause changes within your brain. Studies have shown that a loss of sleep can trigger the chemicals in your brain that make you feel hungry. It can also increase your appetite. So, you might find yourself snacking in the middle of the night, instead of sleeping. As a result, you’re more likely to put on weight.

Unfortunately, the type of stimulation caused by these chemicals is also more likely to make you crave high-fat, high-carb foods. Not only could you be putting yourself at risk of gaining weight, but if you’re constantly eating foods high in fat and carbohydrates, you could be contributing to even greater health issues, like diabetes or heart disease.

As you can see, a lack of sleep is more than just inconvenient or annoying. If it’s a persistent problem in your life, it’s important to remedy it as soon as possible. Do what you can to develop healthier sleep patterns and make getting the recommended 7-9 hours each night a priority. If you’re having trouble doing it on your own, consider working with your doctor or a sleep specialist for help.

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