The vast majority of human beings on this earth will experience some form of sleep deprivation within their lifetime. As long as this doesn’t happen on a regular basis, there shouldn’t be any long-term consequences for your overall health. The more infrequently it happens, furthermore, the less likely it is to have a negative impact on your health in the short-term. But that’s really only if you’re lucky.
The reality is that most of us do have trouble sleeping on a frequent enough basis that it is having negative health consequences for us. Just take a look at the statistics: there are 20 million people in the US alone who take a prescription sleep medicine every night. Sleep deprivation is a chronic health problem that is, sadly, not being addressed the way it deserves to be addressed. The main reason is a lack of education. Today, we’re going to educate you on all of the ways in which sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your health and well-being. Hopefully your knowledge will motivate you to make some changes and adopt some new, healthy sleep habits in your life!
The Consequences of Short Term Sleep Deprivation
Unfortunately, mother nature has still not discovered a way for us to go more than 24 hours without sleep without suffering consequences. Yet nearly 20% of us – that’s one in every five people – report having trouble getting the sleep they need on a daily basis. This can and usually does cause symptoms of short term sleep deprivation. Those symptoms include:
- Mood swings and a lack of emotional control
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Inability to make decisions
- Intense food cravings
- Dull, blemished skin
- Frequent yawning
- Memory problems
You may notice that a lot of those symptoms seem to be localized to the brain only. But if you think that short term sleep deprivation doesn’t have a negative impact on every single cell in your body, you would be wrong. Your brain definitely takes the hardest hit, but your hormones and your endocrine system will also be thrown through a loop. And the longer it takes you to get your sleep back on track, the more devastating these health consequences will become.
The Consequences of Long Term Sleep Deprivation
Even though the consequences of short term sleep deprivation seem a little scary, you can correct those problems usually with a single night of good, quality sleep or even a nice, long nap in the afternoon. But if you’re sleep deprivation is habitual and continues on for weeks or months – or longer – you can really do yourself a lot of harm.
Long-term Sleep Deprivation and the Human Brain
Your brain is an organ, just like your heart, or your lungs, or your liver, or your kidneys. The fact that your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and dreams come from the brain doesn’t change the fact that it reacts to stimuli on a biological level. You can’t will your way out of the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the brain, no matter how strong or invincible you think you are.
As a matter of fact, the brain is the first and most adversely affected organ when it comes to sleep deprivation. In order for the brain to function at its best, your brain has to go through a special cleaning process during the deep, slow wave sections of your nightly sleep cycle. When you don’t give your body deep sleep, your brain can’t clean out the toxic garbage which makes you slow, sluggish, fatigued, gives you brain fog, and can even slow your physical reaction time down. Over time, this lack of nightly cleaning can cause:
- Significantly degrade your motor skills and coordination
- Cause problems with both short and long term memory
- Handicap your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get good quality sleep
- Poor judgement, decision making, and critical thinking skills
- An increased risk of injury and or death while operating heavy machinery – both for you, and those around you
- Psychosis, severe depression, or other mental health disorders
- Mood swings and impulsive actions which can harm your personal relationships
- Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia
Long-term Sleep Deprivation and Metabolic Health
Did you know that your nightly rest can have a significant impact on your waistline? Even after a single night of insufficient sleep, your metabolic health can be compromised. And if you’re a chronic insomniac or if you constantly find yourself struggling, it only gets that much worse.
People like to live under the illusion that they have 100% perfect control over their willpower, especially when it comes to food. But the hard truth is that you don’t control how hungry you are; your metabolic hormones do. And when your metabolic hormones are thrown off balance by poor sleep (among other things), your ability to control how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn off flies out the window.
Poor sleep and healthy diets rarely ever coexist in the same space. The body knows it can get energy from one of two places: food, and rest. And when it doesn’t get energy from rest after a poor night’s sleep, guess what it does? It triggers cravings for high-energy foods. Of course, high-energy also equals high-calorie. It usually also equals high-sugar, high-fat, and high-salt. Tragically, eating these foods usually leads to more sleep problems…which leads to more food cravings…which leads to more poor sleep…it’s an unfortunate vicious cycle.
How to Break the Sleep Deprivation Cycle and Take Back Control of Your Health and Wellness
If you’re looking for answers to this question, then you’re in the right place. Our blog is chock-full of advice on what sort of diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene routines you can follow in order to get the best possible sleep. It would be great if we lived in a world where taking a pill each night before bed was the only thing we needed to do to get the high-quality rest our bodies deserve. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality of the situation.
It’s never too late to learn new habits and start doing things that can turn your life around and help you start getting better rest. One of the best things you can do is just stop abusing your body with dangerous prescription drugs or over-the-counter sleeping pills and try something like Avinol PM instead. It contains safe, natural ingredients that will get you to sleep quickly and leave you feeling refreshed the next day. That, along with other diet and lifestyle changes which will restore a healthy sleep cycle, can protect you from the long-term health consequences of severe sleep deprivation.