31/03/2022 / Health and Fitness

10 Side Effects of Lack of Sleep

Sleeping late at night has so many disadvantages that can affect both your personal and professional life. Read on to find out the 10 common side effects of your disrupted sleep patterns

10 Side Effects of Lack of Sleep
Keerthana A PKeerthana A P

Keerthana A P

Food Technologist, Engineer & Research Associate

Table of content

Introduction

Sleep is food to your brain like food is to your body! So, the quality of your work and productivity heavily depends on the sleep duration. But many people have disrupted sleep patterns due to their studies or business. Skipping your sleep for just one or two days cannot harm but sleeping late at night almost every day can cause various ill effects on your body. But not just your busy schedules, sometimes even medical conditions can contribute to the uneven sleep cycles. Read on to know them!

Why do we need Sleep?

Why do we need Sleep

Sleep is regulated by a biological clock inside your body called ‘circadian rhythm’! These are similar to your alarms which instruct your body to wake up or take a rest. Lack of sleep can mess up the normal rhythm, thereby interrupting your sleep patterns. This on the large scale inhibits your brain functions and ability too. Sleep not only helps in resting your body but also helps in relaxation and memory retention. Not only that, we need to sleep in pitch dark for reaping the benefits of sleep as the sleep hormones would be active only in those stages. All these functions of the brain are paralyzed when you sleep late at night.

5 Common Causes of lack of sleep

Before diving into the disadvantages of sleeping late at night, let’s know the causes of lack of sleep which leads to neurologic disorders. Some of them are,

1. Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia.

2. Chronic Illnesses

Mental illnesses, chronic pain, cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s can reduce one’s sleep duration by interrupting the deep sleep state.

3. Ageing

Ageing is often combined with chronic illnesses that disturb sleep patterns and cause sleep loss.

4. Stress

Stress is the most common factor that affects your optimum sleeping patterns. Most of the time, this stems from professional and personal issues.

6. Changed Schedules

A sudden change of schedules like the birth of a new baby or the new job that requires night shifts.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Here are some of the symptoms which can say that you are not getting adequate sleep at night,

  • Difficulty in concentration

  • Drowsiness

  • Poor memory

  • Feeling of sickness

  • Brain fog

  • Confusion

  • Lack of interest

10 Disadvantages of Sleeping late at Nights

Sleeping late at night can cause several disadvantages to your health and some of the most prominent ones are,

1. Weight gain

The most common disadvantage of sleeping late is the probability of weight gain. Sleeping late at night increases your stress levels due to which you can resort to emotional and mindless eating habits. These unhealthy eating habits make you gain weight in the long run. Besides this, you also would get into the habit of snacking while staying up late which again contributes to weight gain.

2. Low Productivity

Sleeping late at night means reduced sleep duration as you wake up early for job schedules. This can reduce your resting time and paralyses the body with fatigue. Your concentration, problem-solving skills, and creativity get a major blow when you are overworking yourself without taking proper rest.

3. High Blood Pressure

Another disadvantage of sleeping late is the risk of getting high blood pressure. Stress levels increase when you sleep late at night which can possibly damage your arteries and increase your blood pressure levels. 

4. Diabetes

Disrupted sleep patterns and reduced sleep duration can make you diabetic. Yes, you heard that right!When you constantly sleep late at night, your body starts conserving energy and increases your insulin resistance. This in turn can cause a spike in blood sugar levels as whatever you eat wouldn’t nourish your cells, thereby rising sugar levels in blood. Among other disadvantages of sleeping late, we think this would be the most surprising side effect for you! 

5. Heart attack

Blood pressure and heart health are always connected to each other. Sleep is the rest to your overall metabolism as the blood pressure levels drop to lower levels when you sleep. If your sleep duration gets less, your blood pressure remains high for a long time. This in turn hurts the blood vessels, causing heart attacks.  

6. Stroke

Like we have said above, blood vessels get damaged when the sleep duration comes down. So, this not only affects the heart but also the central nervous systems, thereby causing strokes. Therefore, sleeping late at night can shorten your lifespan by giving these life threatening illnesses.  

7. Weakened Immune system

 Next disadvantage of sleeping late is the weakened immune system! Sleep increases the resilience of your immune system by making it efficient to fight against any new pathogens or allergens. If your sleep duration is less, your body gets very less time to prepare itself for fighting against infection, thereby making you very susceptible to illnesses. On the other side, sleep also plays a major role in recovery. If you are sick and don’t sleep well, you take a longer time for recuperation.   

8. Decreased Libido

Another disadvantage of sleeping late is the decreased libido among many people. Important sexual hormones like testosterone gets secreted during the sleep and low sleep duration reduces their secretion. Therefore, Sleep deprivation kills your sex drive and decreases your desires for sex, thereby causing infertility and erectile dysfunctions.  

9. Psychological Disorders

Sleep is the food to your brain and if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re basically starving your brain. This damages your brain functions and in a few cases, even causes inflammation. In the long run, it causes psychological disorders like depression or anxiety which would have negative impacts on both your physical and mental health.  

10. Faulty Brain Functions

The effect of sleep deprivation on the brain is multi-dimensional as it affects almost every aspect of brain function. It impairs decision making, concentration, focus, problem solving, alertness, logical reasoning and complex thinking. So, a sleep deprived brain can not only interfere with your work productivity but also disrupt your basic daily activities. 

Tips for you to reduce the lack of sleep

Here are some of the effective tips that can help you in getting over the habit of sleeping late at night,

  • Exercise at least for 30 minutes a day, this will make you fall asleep sooner.

  • Avoid overconsuming substances like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol as these can disrupt your normal sleep patterns.

  • Try to get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight on your body as this helps in regulating your circadian rhythm.

  • Finally, put down your mobiles and laptops at least two hours before your bedtime

Take-home Points

  • Sleep is an important part of one’s life as it is the food for your brain. Without sleep, almost every daily activity of life comes to a standstill. So, not only the quantity, even the quality of sleep is important.

  • Getting adequate sleep is necessary for maintaining the normal functioning of the brain.

  • Disrupted sleep cycles are due to various reasons like sleep disorders, stress, ageing, and illnesses.

  • Chronic sleep deprivation can cause various effects like high blood pressure, weight gain, low productivity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and low libido.


FAQ on 10 Side Effects of Lack of Sleep

1. What are the effects of lack of sleep on the brain?

Ans. Sleep loss can heavily affect your concentration and focus, thereby leaving you distracted and stressed. This also hampers your productivity and interrupts your reasoning ability.

2. Can lack of sleep cause headaches?

Ans. Sleeping late at night increases the stress levels and irritability of your body. Other than that, it also reduces your pain threshold, thereby making you prone to headaches.

3. Does lack of sleep increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases?

Ans. Sleeping late at night increases stress levels and increases the release of stress hormones which can damage many blood vessels. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart attacks.

4. Can lack of sleep cause high blood pressure?

Ans. Low sleep duration causes the release of stress hormones which raise the heart rate, damage the arteries, and cause increased blood pressure.

5. What are some common reasons for not getting sleep at night?

Ans. Having fewer hours of sleep is due to various factors like stress, poor sleep hygiene, conditions like sleep apnea, mental health disorders, chronic pain, and illnesses.

6. What medicines can I take for my sleep loss?

Ans. Consulting your sleep specialist regarding your sleeping patterns is better than taking any OTC medicines for sleep deprivation as they usually would carry a lot of side effects. 

7. What are some disadvantages of sleeping late at night?

Ans. There are so many disadvantages of sleeping late at night which include increased blood pressure, heart attacks, obesity, depression, and anxiety.

8. How many hours of sleep is required for healthy functioning?

Ans. For functioning to your maximum capacity, you should at least aim for seven to eight hours of sleep in a night.

9. Why do I get little to no sleep at night?

Ans. Have a check with a sleep specialist for any possible sleep disorders or else a psychiatrist for mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. They may help you in finding the reason for your disturbed sleep patterns.

10. Can sleep disorders affect sleeping patterns?

Yes! Sleeping disorders like sleep apnea affect your breathing patterns, thereby causing insomnia.


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