Everyone has experienced sleepless nights whether by binge-watching episodes of Game of Thrones or just by stressing over many things. Since we were kids, we have heard people telling us that a good night sleep is very important to our physical, emotional, and mental health, and obviously, they are right.
Sleep deprivation can cause serious issues to the brain, it can affect your ability to think clearly, make decisions, and react to situations. Also, it can lead to psychological problems that are very hard to treat. So, we asked our doctors, and we looked through many studies and they all had so many things to say.
According to Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D, for the Mayo Clinic, less than 6 hours of sleep ups our risk to have high blood pressure because the body can’t regulate the production of stress hormones when we lack sleep.
So, if your sleepless nights were the result of stress in the first place, your body can translate all of this into a physical problem like hypertension, which is bad news! A high blood pressure can lead to strokes,
According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who had five to six hours sleep per night are more likely to get into a car accident compared to drivers who sleep for more than seven hours. Technically and physiologically, if you are sleep deprived, then your level of impairment is comparable to someone who is drunk.
Furthermore, and according to another research from 2017, when your eyes are tired and blurry, they delay communication between neurons in the brain, which dangerously affect the decision-making while driving.
To make it easier, we will list the two main reasons how sleep deprivation can hurt your heart:
– High blood pressure (as we mentioned before).
– Weight gain(cholesterol problems).
According to a small 2016 German study, young and healthy shift workers noticed that their blood pressure, stress hormones, and heart rates increase after only one night of sleeping only for three hours, which is a scary thing!
Obviously sleepless nights can affect our health very negatively, and it somehow creates a short-cut towards death, too!
If you noticed that you are getting sick way too often, then you are not sleeping well (or not washing your hands). According to a research that was published in a 2015 issue of Sleep, people who sleep less than five hours per night are 4 times more likely to catch a cold or the flu, compared to those who sleep for 7 hours or more.
Our immune system launches an inflammatory response when we don’t get enough sleep, and that inflammatory makes it impossible for the body to fight off an invasion of illness-causing virus or bacteria. The effects can happen in less than five days.
Junk Food Cravings
You might think that this is normal and as human beings, we crave junk food all the time. But, do you know that exhaustion has the same effect on your brain as smoking marijuana?
Some researchers found that people who have only one night short of sleep have higher levels of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol in their brain, and it is a chemical that causes the cravings for smoking marijuana.
However, if you feel sleepy and “snacky” at the same time, you will start consuming more calories than you need which leads to gain weight and a high cholesterol level that increases your chances of having a heart attack.
You become forgetful
Dr. Joyce Lee-Lanotti, the sleep expert, says that our new memories get transmitted from hippocampus to prefrontal cortex for long-term storage, all this happens when we are sleeping. So, if you don’t sleep during the night, your brain will fail to restore your new memories.
On the other hand, and to make things weirder, we could end up remembering things that never happened, according to in 2014 University of California, Irvine study, people who spent a whole day without sleeping developed false memories.
Your relationship is in danger
Let’s be honest for a second: How many times did we act like complete A-holes to people when we are tired?
If you said no, then you are sleep deprived and your brain is creating false memories. But seriously, according to the 2013 University of California, Berkeley study, sleep-deprived couples are most likely to show less gratitude for each other.
Also, Dr. Michael Breus, sleep expert, explained that when we lack sleep, we tend to view things more negatively and all of our emotions become exaggerated. So, if you find yourself arguing about why he/she forgot to screw the toothpaste again, then you head to bed instantly.
Being sleep-deprived can escalate your levels of anger, stress, and sadness. Technically, if your brain didn’t get enough sleep, it will throw you into a rollercoaster of mood swings.
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, exhaustion ramps up activity in the amygdala, which is where the brain process new information while regulating emotions. This means you will have a hard time to stay calm during stressful moments and will leave you feeling more anxious.
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