Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that occurs when a person lacks sleep for an extended period. There are many consequences to sleep deprivation, five of which will be explored in this blog.
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
- Brain fog and irritability
Following a restless night’s sleep, you may find that conversations are difficult to hold, and you don’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything. According to studies analyzing MRI scans of brains, sleep deprivation affects areas of the brain that deal with attention and memory. Sleep deprivation has also been connected to changes in your brain’s reward processing. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are more inclined to take risks and act rashly. It may also be difficult for you to regulate emotions effectively. As a result, you may react to situations with intense emotions and irritability, increasing the likelihood of conflict with others.
When sleep-deprived, you are more likely to crave deep-fried or sugary foods. Sleep deprivation has been shown to enhance your desire for sweet, salty, and carb-heavy foods. This is due to a misalignment of two hormones in the metabolism process: leptin and ghrelin. Whereas ghrelin raises appetite, leptin decreases it. Sleep deprivation causes lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, resulting in an overall increase in hunger. To fulfill your cravings, you turn to unhealthy, calorie-dense foods, putting you at a greater risk of obesity.
- Memory problems
According to a study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, poor sleep quality may lead to memory loss and brain damage in the elderly. Even for young people, sleep deprivation has been linked to forgetfulness and difficulties recalling names. You may want to reconsider staying up a few extra hours every night and instead get the quality sleep you have been missing out on.
- Higher stress and blood pressure
When you have a good night’s sleep, your blood pressure drops by roughly 10%–20%, which is normal. However, if you stay awake for long periods, your blood pressure will remain elevated. Sleep deprivation can increase stress levels, and it can cause your sympathetic nervous system (which prepares your body for stressful situations) to go into overdrive. When this happens, it causes your blood pressure to rise to dangerously high levels, potentially increasing your risk of hypertension.
- Weaker immune system
You are more likely to become sick if you are chronically sleep-deprived, and it may also affect how quickly you recover from an illness. This is because sleep deprivation has a negative impact on your immune system. Sleep improves adaptive or acquired immunity, which is the sort of immunity that allows your body to recognize pathogens and fight infections caused by those pathogens later on. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body does not develop critical immune cells involved in adaptive immunity and memory formation. In addition, sleep deprivation lowers the number of natural killer cells in your blood, which are essential for short-term immunity.
Natural Sleep Aid Options
Thankfully, there is a solution to your sleepless nights, and the consequences discussed can be prevented. Many people are now looking into natural sleep aid alternatives to the prescription sleep aids that large pharmaceutical companies often promote. A natural sleep aid like Can-i Sleep Oral Spray can be beneficial.
Melatonin is a hormone that induces sleepiness. It is known as the “sleep hormone” and is naturally produced by your body as part of the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep-wake cycle comprises natural processes that define when a person should sleep and when they should be awake. Sleep and relaxation are improved when melatonin is enhanced. It informs your body that it is nighttime and keeps your circadian rhythm, a 24-hour internal clock in your body, in good working order.
Overall, the effects of sleep deprivation are severe but preventable. Trying a sleep supplement with products such as a melatonin sleep aid can help you mitigate these issues and get a good night’s sleep.