A lack of sleep is felt in all parts of the body. An American study shows that more than a third of people sleep less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a day.
Find out how lack of sleep can impact your health and wellbeing, and what you can do to improve your sleep habits. In the short term, a night with less sleep is not that harmful, but in the long term, it can have major consequences.
You become less alert
In order to be able to remember things and continue to learn, it is important that we get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause you to forget things, become less alert and absorb things less quickly. Spending 24 hours without sleep has the same effect on our brain as being drunk.
Your mood can deteriorate tremendously and you can have a lot of mood swings. This is because it is more difficult for us to determine what is important and what is not. If we find something important at that moment, we are less able to support it with facts and it becomes a gut feeling. This often causes mood swings.
Your skin suffers too. Research from 2013 shows that there is a link between deteriorated skin and a lack of sleep. This concerns dark spots, wrinkles and fatigue. In the short term, you won’t notice much of this, but in the long term, it is particularly harmful.
You often feel more hungry when you don’t get much sleep. The hormone, ghrelin, goes up when you don’t sleep much. Ghrelin is responsible for your feeling of hunger. Whereas, the hormone, leptin, is produced less. This hormone makes you feel full. Because of this, you will often eat a lot more. It doesn’t stop with the healthy things. In cases like this, we often go for fatty and salty food.
Metabolism goes down
Because your body gets so little rest, your food will process in a different way. This will lower your metabolism and your body will store more food than it consumes. This in turn leads to an increase in weight.
Sports performance deteriorates
Your sports performance deteriorates drastically when you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is the rest your body needs to recover from your efforts. It gives your muscles rest and ensures that you can perform again the next day. Again, it is damaging to your sports performance in both the short and long term if you consistently sleep too few hours.
Your immune system gets weaker
Your immune system also weakens because your body needs to put more energy into staying awake and therefore, less energy into fighting bacteria. This can get the upper hand quickly, so you can get sick faster. Both in the long term and in the short term, this can have major consequences.