What Happens When You’re Sleep Deprived

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, approximately 1 in 3 adults isn’t getting enough sleep. Why is this such a big deal? Here’s what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep — spoiler alert — it’s not good.

man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia and sleep disorder

1. You Get Sick. Losing sleep can impair your body’s ability to fight off illness by weakening its immune system. This means you get sick far more often than if you were getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night.

2. Your Heart Suffers. Short (less than 5 hours) and long (nine or more hours) periods of sleep are shown to have negative impact on heart health according to the European Heart Journal. By getting not enough sleep, your chances of coronary heart disease or having a stroke are greatly increased.

3. Your Cancer Risk Increases. Sleep deprivation is associated with higher risks of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

4. You Can’t Think. In a study published by Experimental Brain Research, a group of 18 men were given a task to complete. The first task was completed following a full night’s sleep. The next task was completed after skipping a night of sleep. Executive control (memory, decision-making, reasoning, and problem solving), suffered along with reaction time and alertness after a night without sleep.

5. You Forget Stuff. Not only can missed sleep make you more forgetful, but more and more research shows that sleep is critical to the process of consolidating the things we learn in the brain. Getting proper rest will help you lock in the new information you learn and commit it to memory.

6. You Gain Weight. A study published in Sleep and Breathing examined the relationship between sleep and weight in 21,469 adults over the age of 20. Those who slept less than 5 hours each night over the course of the 3 year study were more likely to gain weight and become obese. Those who slept between 7 to 9 hours a night gained significantly less weight.

7. You’re Accident Prone. You are 3x more likely to be involved in an automobile accident if you get 6 or fewer hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Please think twice before you get behind the wheel if you’ve accumulated sleep debt.

Getting enough sleep isn’t just for your looks, it could actually save your life. Take time to consider all the risks you’re taking by staying up for “just one more episode.” Then, turn off the TV, turn out the lights, and enjoy your seven to eight hours of glorious, restorative rest.