What Happens When You Don't Sleep Enough

What Happens When You Don't Sleep Enough By Rithika Thomas - March 15, 2023
World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day

There is a reason why World Sleep Day is observed every year. It is to spread awareness of the importance adequate sleep has on our health and our overall well-being. Sleep is a behaviour that is foundational to one’s physical, mental, and social health. 

How much sleep do you need?

According to a report by the National Sleep Foundation, people in different age groups should aim for a particular amount of sleep every night for a healthy sleep schedule.

The foundation based its report on two years of research and breaks it down into nine age-specific categories, with a slight range that allows for individual preferences:

  • Adults, 65+ years: 7 to 8 hours.
  • Adults, 26 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Young adults, 18 to 25 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Teenagers, 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours.
  • School-age children, 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours.
  • Preschool children, 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
  • Toddlers, 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
  • Infants, 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours.
  • Newborns, 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.

Doctors have also found that genetic, behavioural and environmental factors help determine how much sleep you need for your best health and daily performance. 

But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the right direction to improve your health. 

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your health. Some short-term problems include:

  • Lack of alertness: even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact on how you feel.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness: it can make you very sleepy and tired during the day.
  • Impaired memory: lack of sleep can affect your ability to think, remember and process information.
  • Relationship stress: it can make you feel moody and you can become more likely to have conflicts with others.
  • Quality of life: you may become less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise.
  • Greater likelihood of car accidents: drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you continue operating without enough sleep, you may see more long-term and serious health problems. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, reduced immune system function

Chronic sleep deprivation can also- affect your appearance. Over time, it can lead to premature wrinkling and dark circles under your eyes. There’s also a link between lack of sleep and an increase in the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol can break down collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth. In other words, a lack of sleep could mean more wrinkles!

By Rithika Thomas - March 15, 2023

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