We all know sleep is important. But do you know what can really happen when you don’t clock in enough zzz’s?
It’s recommended that adults get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, and things go awry when we consistently miss that target. There are several consequences to not getting enough sleep at night, and today we’re looking at 7 big ones.
LACK OF ENERGY
Probably obvious, but still a big problem…a lack of sleep leads to lack of energy. When you don’t have enough energy, it makes it so difficult to get through day to day tasks. You long for your bed the whole day! And without energy, you may find it difficult to stay focused at school or work. You may end up putting off important tasks or canceling plans due to exhaustion. So while a lack of energy may not sound so bad at first, the details paint a much different picture.
Our bodies need rest. They don’t just want rest; they need it. When we don’t get enough sleep, our immune systems can take a nosedive. This increases the risk of catching a cold or another virus/infection, as your body isn’t prepared to fight off pathogens as readily as it is when you’re sleeping properly.
Cortisol, that sneaky hormone. We need it to help us regulate daily body function (such as sleep/wake times and hunger cues, for example). However, when you regularly don’t get enough sleep, cortisol spikes in the body. This can create a stress response which can lead to problems such as weight gain. The elevated cortisol can cause bloating, but also makes you feel hungrier than usual, giving you the potential to overeat consistently. The truth is that this raised cortisol is largely responsible for many of the negative effects of lack of sleep, but the connection to weight gain is often the most noted!
REDUCED MUSCLE RECOVERY
If you have a workout routine, you need time for recovery. Although it’s possible to rest throughout your waking hours, it’s pretty standard to be doing other things during the day. So you need that rest and recovery time during the night to repair the muscle and get your body ready for the next day. When you jeopardize your recovery, your workouts suffer along with your personal progress!
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Along with increased cortisol levels also comes higher blood pressure. Although not the case for everyone, a chronic lack of sleep can lead to hypertension, which also increases your risk of heart attack and heart disease. When we think of lowering blood pressure, the focus is usually on diet and exercise. However, sleep plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
People who don’t get enough sleep put themselves at risk for higher blood sugar levels than those who get their 7-9 hours per night. Without sleep, your body’s insulin levels are impacted, leading to higher blood sugar. Over time, this can actually turn into Type 2 Diabetes.
Referring back to “lack of energy,” one major consequence of not getting enough sleep is the potential for accidents.
Exhaustion and tiredness from not sleeping can have a huge impact on balance and equilibrium overall, making you more likely to lose your footing and fall. You may notice that you bump into things more often when you’re functioning on 4 hours of sleep.
But even more serious is the risk of falling asleep while driving. Dozing off, even for a second, can cause major accidents and death. Even the dizziness caused by a lack of sleep puts you more at risk of getting into a serious accident.
You know all too well how your mind and body feel when you’re not sleeping well. Although it may take some work to get yourself on a solid sleep schedule, your life really may depend on it. And above all, you deserve the rest!