Harmful effects of sleep deprivation

Contributed by Abshar Faheem


Do you know how many hours of sleep you get every night? Is it eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or sometimes 0 hours? More often than not, especially after the lockdown, we have not been taking sleep very seriously because we have been giving other tasks more importance like late-night texting, watching TV series, and sometimes finishing office work. Our brain is also an essential part of our body that needs proper sleep to function properly. Lack of sleep stops the brain from making new memories, so without memory, the inbox of the brain shuts down. Leading to your brain not absorbing new experiences or it is unable to memorize things. For example, if you have lots of incoming emails it’s like most e-mails just bouncing back. In other words, you cannot make or create new memories. 


Lack of sleep also leads to the development of a toxic material that is called beta-amyloid that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease because it is during deep sleep at night when a system within the brain actually starts to begin operating at high gear and it starts to disintegrate this toxic protein, beta-amyloid. So if you are not getting enough sleep each and every night, more Alzheimer’s protein will build up. The more the protein build-up, the greater the risk of developing dementia later in life. An average adult sleeps for 6.8 hours a night. In India, the lowest average sleep per night is 6 hours 20 minutes. 


Science says an average adult needs to sleep 7.5 hours every night. In these 7 and a half hours, a person completes five 90-minute sleep cycles. During these 5 cycles, the brain moves from deep, Non-REM sleep to REM sleep. If you face problems memorizing names, blame it on your sleep. Lack of sleep affects the working hours. In India, working late at night is regarded as professionalism. Ultimately, it causes low productivity which leads to the low GDP of the country. It makes you groggy and hard for you to concentrate. Sleep deprivation is helping no one. In this article, we will discuss some most common diseases that occur due to sleep deprivation. Let’s begin! 

Sleep deprivation

Side effects of sleep deprivation 


Here we have listed out some side effects that you can face due to lack of sleep. It includes: 


  • Hypertension


People with high blood pressure should pay special attention to their sleep quality. The precise link between sleep and hypertension is unclear. The scientific study says if you sleep less than six hours, you may face high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, poor quality of sleep can make your condition worse. You also have to focus on your sleep duration. Some most common sleep problems that affect your blood pressure include Insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. 




As per doctors, there’s some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to a pre-diabetic condition. Sleep deprivation may manifest itself as insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. When insulin is not doing its job, high blood sugar levels build in the body leading to diabetes.


Breast Cancer


Lack of sleep can kill the anti-cancer cells that lead to a higher risk of cancer. Melatonin plays a crucial role to regulate our sleep cycle. It also helps us to regulate cell growth and repair. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have lower melatonin levels. Lower melatonin levels lead to patterns of breast cell growth and repair that make breast cancer more likely to develop. 




Sleep and mental health are interconnected with each other. Inadequate sleep affects your mental health and psychological state. It hinders you from thinking clearly. Sleep deprivation can develop into mental illness and result in a particular mental disorder. Sleep problems may affect patients with psychiatric disorders more than people in the general population. 




Anxiety and sleeping issues can accompany each other. Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety while anxiety can also lead to lack of sleep. More than 50 percent of adults say their anxiety levels affect their capacity to get sleep at night. Studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at a higher risk of anxiety disorders. In addition to anxiety disorders, they can also experience heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and stroke. 


Fertility Disorder


Sleep deprivation leads to infertility disorder in both men and women. Basically, it affects the hormones related to fertility. The part of the brain which regulates sleep hormones is also responsible for triggering the hormones that affect ovulation in women and sperm maturation in men. In women, sleep deprivation can have a direct effect on their reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. 




Sleep deprivation and obesity are independently connected with each other. When you don’t get adequate sleep, your hunger automatically rises. Adults eat lots of food and intake calories which result in obesity. Right now, adults prefer late night food which partly affectsthe health of your body. 


Final Thoughts


Sleep deprivation does not help anyone. It leads to various kinds of diseases that you cannot imagine. Some are controllable while others are very harmful and beyond your control. We have to get enough sleep at night to stay productive during the daytime. Adequate sleep also helps us to protect ourselves from depression and anxiety. If you are facing difficulty in sleeping, do consult a doctor at the earliest. We hope you find the article informative and beneficial for yourself. 


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