What Happens To Your Body When You Don't Sleep Enough? Expert Answers

In our increasingly busy lives, sleep often becomes a casualty to daily demands. Recent studies highlight the severe consequences of chronic sleep deprivation. When the body doesn’t get enough rest, cognitive functions such as memory and decision-making deteriorate, while mood disorders like anxiety and depression become more prevalent. Read on to know how to improve your sleep cycle.
What Happens To Your Body When You Don't Sleep Enough?

What Happens To Your Body When You Don't Sleep Enough? (Image Credits: iStock)

In today’s fast-paced world, sleep often takes a backseat due to the demands of work, social life, and neverending to-do lists. However, not getting enough sleep can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. Lack of adequate rest affects the brain's ability to function, leading to impaired cognitive abilities, memory issues, and mood swings. Sleep is an essential biological activity that helps the body and brain to recharge, keeping them cognitively sharp and physically healthy. When we don’t get enough sleep, we are putting ourselves at risk for a series of negative repercussions that affect almost every aspect of our physical and mental health.
We got in touch with Dr Rakesh Gupta, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, who explains how inadequate sleep can affect our bodies.
Sleep Deprivation and Brain Function
Dr Rakesh Gupta explains sleep deprivation has a negative influence on the brain. Throughout sleep, the brain eliminates metabolic waste products that accumulate throughout alertness. Inadequate sleep causes a buildup of these neurotoxins, which impair cognitive capacities such as focus, decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity.
Sleep plays an important part in memory consolidation. Inadequate sleep impairs the brain's ability to successfully commit new information to memory while weakening existing memories over time. A lack of sleep can interfere with learning, focus, and productivity.
Impact On Physical And Mental Health
Dr Rakesh Gupta explains sleep is necessary for physical restoration and healing in the body. Inadequate sleep impacts the body in the following ways:
- Sleep is essential for the immune system's ability to fight viruses and illnesses.
- Chronic sleep deprivation makes people more prone to ailments and takes longer to recover from them.
- Sleep also modulates appetites and the hormones responsible for hunger and fullness.
- People who are sleep deprived have higher amounts of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and lower levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses it. This hormonal imbalance can cause overeating and weight gain.
- Chronic sleep deprivation has also been related to a variety of other health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and even an increased risk of some malignancies.
- Without proper sleep, the body's metabolic systems become dysregulated, resulting in poor overall health. Mental Health Impacts
- In addition to cognitive disadvantages, sleep deprivation has a significant impact on mental and emotional health. Insufficient sleep increases the chances of developing mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. It aggravates symptoms in those who are already dealing with mental health concerns.
- Sleep helps the brain process emotional information and control stress levels properly. When the brain is deprived of sleep, it becomes over-sensitive to negative stimuli and emotional events, resulting in increased irritability, mood swings, feelings of overload, and difficulties coping with life's daily stresses.
How To Improve Your Sleep Cycle?
To avoid the negative consequences of sleep loss, doctors recommend following basic sleep hygiene rules. This involves:
- Sticking to a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bedtime, and turning off technological gadgets.
- Most adults require 7-9 hours of decent sleep per night to function properly.
- While a missed night of sleep is unavoidable, persistent sleep loss should be treated immediately.
- If insomnia or other sleep problems persist, you must consult a doctor, as insufficient sleep can have a negative impact on general health and quality of life if left untreated.
End of Article
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