Can You Get Sick From Lack of Sleep?
Visit Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders and learn more about the effects that lack of sleep can have on your health. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington, IL, Peoria – Dunlap, IL, Lafayette, IN, Mishawaka, IN, Columbia, MO, Kansas City, MO, Albuquerque, NM, Brewster, NY, El Paso, TX, and Wausau, WI.
We are all familiar with the importance of sleep, with the average adult needing around 8 hours, and adolescents needing, even more, around 9 to 10 hours every day. We spend a third of our lives doing it, but exactly how important is sleep, and what happens when we do not get enough? There is no single answer to this question, as sleep deprivation has varying effects on different people. However, not getting enough sleep can have a serious impact on one’s health, impairing both physical and mental functions.
What are the effects of lack of sleep?
Lack of sleep can have a number of negative effects on one’s health, including:
Memory Issues — During sleep, the brain forms important connections that are essential to processing and remembering new information. Lack of sleep can negatively impact short-term and long-term memory.
The trouble with Thinking and Concentration — Sleep deprivation can lead to issues with concentration, creativity, and problem-solving.
Mood Changes — Lack of sleep can make a person moody, emotional, and even quick-tempered. When lack of sleep is chronic, it can lead to anxiety or depression.
More Prone to Accidents — Daytime drowsiness increases the risk of unintentional self-injury, such as an auto accident or falling.
Weakened Immune System — Sleeping too little affects the body’s ability to fight off invading viruses and bacteria. Therefore, people are more likely to get sick when not sleeping enough.
High Blood Pressure — If someone sleeps for less than five hours a night, their risk for high blood pressure increases.
Risk for Diabetes — Lack of sleep affects the body’s release of insulin, and it is found that sleep-deprived people have higher blood sugar levels and are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Weight Gain — In someone who is sleep deprived, the chemicals that signal the brain that the stomach is full are off balance. This can lead to overindulgence, even when someone has had enough to eat.
Low Sex Drive — Those who do not sleep enough often have a lower libido. When this occurs in men, it may be due to lower levels of testosterone.
Risk of Heart Disease — Lack of sleep may lead to increased blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals linked to inflammation, both of which play a role in heart disease.
Poor Balance — Lack of sleep can affect balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falling and other physical accidents.
What are the signs of sleep deprivation?
Lack of sleep can cause many signs and symptoms, including:
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced attention span
- Worsened memory
- Poor or risky decision-making
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes
How Does Sleep Affect Our Immune System?
Sleep can have a profound effect on your immune system. Several scientific studies have shown that when people do not get quality sleep or enough sleep each night, they are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold virus or influenza. Lack of sleep can also affect how quickly someone recovers if they do get sick.
If you are concerned about not getting enough sleep and the effects it is having on your health, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders today. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in helping people improve the quality of their sleep, and by doing so, improve their quality of life. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you!