What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation?

Some people sleep more and some people sleep less. What really matters is that everybody needs to get enough sleep to stay healthy! So what are the negative effects associated if you don’t get enough sleep? First, we need to understand: How much sleep do we need? The answer to this is very specific to the individual, so we will break it down for you. Based on research studies, the factors that affect how many hours of sleep you need for optimal health are:

  1. Age
  2. Physical Activity
  3. Genetics

how much sleep do you need to be healthy

On average, adults need approximately 7-9 hours each day. Most people don’t understand just how important it is to get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep is equally detrimental to health as not having enough oxygen in the blood. Or, not enough food and water in the body.

So what does this mean? Well, first we need to understand the severity of what sleep deprivation does to you. We are all familiar with that awful feeling of being tired throughout the day. In the past, sleep deprivation was used as a torture method. It turned out to be quite effective because people don’t tolerate sleep restriction well. Sleep is equally important for the body as it is for the mind. Above all, sleep significantly impacts physiological processes like digestion, immune system, sex drive, and hormone levels.

So what happens if you don’t get enough sleep?

what happens when you don't get enough sleep

1. Weight Gain

Lack of sleep and exercise do not mix well together as you probably know. Obviously, It’s less likely for a sleep-deprived person to exercise or workout.

But there is more!

For those who don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels decrease while ghrelin levels increase. In other words, the body sends a clear message to the brain: “I feel an urge to eat, and I’m not full at all!” That’s the chemical background of an overeating session. Many epidemiological studies showed a clear connection between sleep reduction and obesity among children, adolescents, and adults.

The research team at Clinical Sciences Research Institute (from the University of Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK) published a cross-sectional study in 2008 to assess if the evidence supports the relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity among children and adults. A total number of adult participants in the study: 604,509. The conclusion is clear: there is a strong connection linking obesity and not getting enough sleep in adults. [1]

2. Mental Status

When you don’t get enough sleep, your mental status completely changes. The lack of sleep “slows down“ the learning process and affects short-term memory. This creates mood swings. People become nervous and anxious.

The solution? Well, all of these symptoms are reversible. You just need to rest before it causes severe psychological damage.

Long-term effects are even more frightening. Sleep deprivation worsens the symptoms, or in some people triggers unpleasant feelings. The worst of these symptoms are depression, impulsive behavior, paranoid behavior, hallucinations, and even suicidal thoughts.

Some people experience sudden sleep episodes which they are not aware of. An episode may last anywhere from a few seconds up to a few minutes and can happen anywhere, even while driving.

3. Immune System

Sleep is a strong regulator of immunological processes. Many of the immune system functions have a characteristic rhythm that relies on a sleep-wake cycle. The study published in 2011, suggests that fast-acting immune cells peak in numbers during wake period of the cycle, optimizing the body’s defense and reparational mechanisms. Injuries and infections (due to an injury) are more likely to happen during the wake cycle; therefore the body mobilizes its forces at that time. During the sleep cycle, processes related to forming and preserving long-lasting immunological memory became predominant activity. [2]

Prolonged lack of sleep triggers stress response which is called a complex hormonal cascade. Consequently, this initiates the production of pro-inflammatory substances that have detrimental effects on health (low-grade inflammation and immunodeficiency).

4. Endocrine System

In 2005, a team of researchers from The Pulmonary Center of the Boston University School of Medicine published research about the connection between sleep duration, diabetes, and impaired glucose tolerance. As a result, it turned out that sleep duration of 6 hours or less corresponds to an increased risk of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (a step to diabetes). [3]

Another study published in 2010 revealed that short sleep duration is a risk factor for hypercholesterolemia [4]. Increased cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

The list of studies about the impact of sleep duration on metabolic health grows day by day, and based on the data gathered so far, we know that prolonged sleep restriction does the following:

–    Triggers a secretion of stress hormones
–    Increases risk of cardiovascular disease
–    Increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes
–    Worsens hypertension
–    Reduces insulin sensitivity
–    Has a negative effect on cardiovascular health

Natural Ways to Sleep Better

Weight loss surgery can significantly improve sleep-related comorbidities, also known as sleep disorders. Make your bedroom sleeping environment as optimized as you can, such as mattress, lighting, etc. Also, one of the most natural ways to sleep is scents. Here are best scents that can help relaxation and promote sleep:

  • Lavender
  • Lemon or Yuzu
  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Vanilla
  • Clary sage
  • Jasmine

Stages of Sleep:

Stages of Healthy Sleep

People normally pass through five stages of sleep:

  1. Stage 1 (2-5%) – The “light sleep” stage. Consists of drifting in and out of sleep and can easily be interrupted.
  2. Stage 2 (45-55%) – More intense “light sleep” stage. An uninterrupted form of stage 1 that result in eye movement stops with slower brain waves.
  3. Stage 3 (3-8%) – The “deep sleep” stage. In stage 3, extremely slow brain waves (delta waves) that are difficult to interrupt.
  4. Stage 4 (10-15%) – More intense “deep sleep” stage. The brain exclusively produces delta waves and cannot easily be interrupted.
  5. REM – “restful sleep” stage. In REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, brain activity increases while the eyes remain closed but move rapidly from side-to-side and suppressed muscle activity.

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[1] Cappuccio, F. P., Taggart, F. M., Kandala, N.-B., Currie, A., Peile, E., Stranges, S., & Miller, M. A. (2008). Meta-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults. Sleep, 31(5), 619–626.
[2] Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv, 463(1), 121–137. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
[3]  Daniel J. Gottlieb, Naresh M. Punjabi, Ann B. Newman, Helaine E. Resnick, Susan Redline, Carol M. Baldwin, F. Javier Nieto. Association of Sleep Time With Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):863–867. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.863
[4] Gangwisch, J. E., Malaspina, D., Babiss, L. A., Opler, M. G., Posner, K., Shen, S., … Ginsberg, H. N. (2010). Short Sleep Duration as a Risk Factor for Hypercholesterolemia: Analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Sleep, 33(7), 956–961.

By |2018-08-10T22:47:07+00:00January 12th, 2018|Mexico Bariatric Center News|0 Comments

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