What are the Long-term Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep?

There’s so much to do, and so little time to do it. It would be great to have more hours in the day, but staying awake longer isn’t the solution. Not getting enough sleep can have serious long-term consequences, both mental and physical.

Mental Well-Being

  • Depression: Sleep deprivation can contribute to the onset of depression. People who suffer from insomnia may be as much as 10 times more likely to experience the symptoms of depression.

  • Emotional Vulnerability: A good sleep schedule gives you the emotional fortitude to face the day. Without enough sleep, you are more likely to experience negative thoughts and feel emotionally weak.

  • Impaired Cognitive Function: A reduction in memory abilities, reaction times and reasoning skills has been demonstrated in sleep-deprived individuals. Without enough sleep, you are also less able to think creatively and come up with original ideas.

  • Hindered Job Performance: As cognitive abilities decrease, so does job performance. From major disasters to medical mistakes, investigations have shown that sleep-deprived employees often play a role in the critical errors. Even when lives don’t hang in the balance, well-rested workers are more alert and, therefore, able to perform better than exhausted ones.

Physical Health and Fitness

  • Weight Gain: Studies have shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Lack of sleep may affect hormones that regulate appetite; plus, people who are regularly tired may be less likely to exercise.

  • Weakened Immune System: If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be logging more sick days than you would with enough rest. Researchers have found that you are more likely to fall victim to germs when you don’t get enough sleep. Plus, it can also take you longer to recover from illnesses.

  • Diabetes: Multiple studies have shown a link between not getting enough sleep and developing Type 2 diabetes. Insufficient sleep causes the body to process glucose more slowly. Sleep apnea has been linked to a similar change in glucose processing.

  • Heart Conditions: Insufficient sleep, especially in people with sleep apnea, has been linked to a variety of heart-related conditions. This includes cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. Some experts even believe that sleep apnea can serve as a predictor of heart troubles. Additionally, the weight gain that can be associated with sleep deprivation may contribute to the development of heart disease.

  • Shortened Life Span: People who do not get enough sleep may die sooner than those who do. Obesity, diabetes and heart problems related to sleep deprivation can be the cause of early death. Immune system weakness not only makes you more likely to catch a cold, but also leaves you more vulnerable to serious disease. Finally, even if sleeplessness doesn’t lead to a life-threatening condition, your days could be cut short by an accident caused by drowsiness.

Getting enough sleep is vitally important to a healthy lifestyle. If not getting enough rest is a concern, taking the Sleep Problems Test can be the first step toward a rejuvenated outlook on life.