You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. But you may not know what it can do to your attention, memory, sex, health, looks, weight, and judgement. Missing out on simply an hour of the advised 8 hours sleep will double your odds of an auto accident the following day.
Drowsy driving endangers people’s lives and creates tragic results.
The crash risk due to drowsy driving is akin to drunk driving. Poor sleep reduces attention. Therefore lowers the ability to compose timely and correct decisions while driving.
However, more than half of drivers involved in drowsy driving accidents experienced no signs of any symptoms before the crash. Failing to manage a healthy sleep schedule may endanger yourself and other people on the road. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be challenging but we should not compromise our sleep.
Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it very difficult to learn efficiently. Various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind.
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning.
If you do not get enough sleep, you will not be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day. Our brains have events called the “sharp wave ripples”. Sharp wave ripples are responsible for consolidating memory.
These ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where the long-term memories are stored. The ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep. Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression.
People who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than 6 hours at night. The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. Those with insomnia were 5 times as likely to develop depression as those without.
Insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression.
Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression. And depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Lack of sleep kills sex drive. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame. Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for heart diseases.
Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. When you do not get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
Lack of sleep causes the body to release too little human growth hormone.
When we are young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity.
People who sleep less than 6 hours a day were almost 30% more likely to become obese than those who slept more than 7 hours. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreased leptin and elevated ghrelin.
Not only does sleep loss stimulate appetite, it also stimulates food cravings. Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely.
Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment.
Especially when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. Over time, people who are getting 6 instead of 8 hours of sleep, begin to feel that they have adapted to that sleep deprivation, and that they have gotten used to it. But if you look at how they actually do on mental alertness and performance tests, they continue to go downhill.
So there is a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.