In our busy and demanding lives, it can be difficult to find time for the recommended eight hours of sleep.
And while many of us put off going to bed for various reasons, ranging from our nightly Netflix binge to browsing social media, every single one of us really appreciates a good night’s sleep.
And there’s a very good reason for that: sleep, and enough of it, is very good for us.
Yes, I know you’ve already heard this a million of times before, but you’ve probably only heard the glass half full version.
The glass half full version goes a little like this: getting a decent amount of sleep will make you more alert, it’ll make you more productive and it’ll do wonders for maintaining your physical health.
But here’s the glass half empty version: not getting enough sleep will increase your risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression.
And to drain that half-empty glass even further, there are many more risks that you should know about.
Here are 11 awful things that could happen to you if you consistently miss out on a good night’s sleep.
1. Deadly conditions related to long-term lack of sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation could eventually lead to any of the following:
– Heart failure
– Heart attack
– Heart disease
– Irregular heartbeat
– High blood pressure
2. Sleep deprivation will eventually kill your libido
Sex is a normal part of most people’s relationships, but as the cliche goes: it takes two to tango. And while you may have started off with a healthy sex drive and more importantly one that is compatible with that of your partner, not getting enough sleep could seriously curb your desire for sex.
When you’re tired, you have an overall lack of energy so it makes sense that hitting the pillow would be a higher priority than having sex.
3. Sleep loss ages you at a much faster rate
Missing just a few nights of sleep often shows up on your face in the form of dark circles under your eyes etc. so imagine what months or even years of sleep deprivation could do.
Well, it turns out that it’s pretty terrible for your skin.
When you miss out on sleep, your body releases a lot more cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. If you have too much cortisol in your body, your skin collagen, a protein that keeps your skin elastic and smooth, will start to break down.
4. A lack of sleep impairs your mental capacity
If you miss out on an entire night of sleep, your mental capacity will be as deficient as that of a drunk person. Your reaction time and sense of judgment will be impeded. So if you want to be taking full advantage of your brain’s potential, get some sleep!
5. Problems with your vision
The longer you are awake the more you’ll start to see things that aren’t really there. Eventually, you might even start having full-on hallucinations. It’s pretty scary stuff.
6. Having troubles speaking normally
A severe lack of sleep could eventually affect your ability to engage in conversation, kind of like when you have had too much to drink.
According to one study: “Volunteers kept awake for 36 hours showed a tendency to use word repetitions and clichés; they spoke monotonously, slowly, [and] indistinctly. They were not able to properly express and verbalize their thoughts.”
And if all this wasn’t bad enough, in the video below, a sleep expert by the name of Matthew Walker goes into a disturbing amount of detail as to the harmful effects of sleep deprivation:
This next point may sound like something out of movie, but it’s very true…
7. You feel more pain
Recent studies have shown that in some people, sleep deprivation can lead to a heightened sensitivity to pain. And that’s because a chronic lack of sleep can severely lower your pain threshold.
8. Increased risk of developing depression
A chronic lack of sleep is thought to contribute to symptoms of depression.
In a poll conducted by Sleep in America in 2005, people who had experiences of depression or anxiety were more likely than the other research participants to have less than six hours of sleep.
9. An increased cancer risk
Although the results are not yet conclusive, scientists do believe there could be a link between long-term sleep deprivation and the development of cancer. Preliminary research has indicated that people who don’t get enough sleep are at a heightened risk of developing breast and colon cancer.
10. Sleep loss increases your overall risk of death
In the “Whitehall II Study,” British researchers carried out a study on how certain sleep patterns affected mortality rates. The results indicated that those who had gone from seven hours of sleep to five hours or fewer doubled their risk of death from any cause. That’s pretty astounding.
11. Weight gain
Not getting a proper amount of sleep can lead you to gain weight a lot more rapidly than you otherwise would.
A study with over 21,469 adults examined the relationship between sleep and weight. Those who had less than five hours of sleep throughout the three-year study had an increased risk of gaining weight to the extent that some of them became obese. The participants who slept between seven and eight hours each night had fewer issues with their weight.
So if you value your mental and physical health, you really should be making time for some shut-eye.