8 Ways A Lack of Sleep Is Slowly Killing You

by Dawn Chen
HEALTH  |  September 09, 2017
  • Sleep is more important than you realise.
    1 / 9 Sleep is more important than you realise.

    Ask around in your group of friends and chances are most haven’t clocked those golden eight hours of sleep per night. A local study previously found that four in 10 Singaporeans are sleep deprived, which is pretty unsurprising given our packed schedules. But as much as we’re used to late nights, sleep deprivation can also be a serious threat to your overall wellbeing. Here are eighty truly awful things that happen to your body when you don’t get enough rest. (Also Read: 11 Tips For Better Sleep, According to The Sleep Doctor)

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  • You become (temporarily) dumber 
    2 / 9 You become (temporarily) dumber 

    No, seriously – that fogginess in your brain is real. If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to concentrate or form coherent thoughts and sentences after a night of poor sleep, Harvard Medical School researchers explain: a lack of sleep impairs cognition and interferes with your attention, concentration and reaction time. This could be due to decreased blood flow in your brain.

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  • Your skin becomes dull and dry
    3 / 9 Your skin becomes dull and dry

    Observe how you look in the mirror after a restful night, and again on another day where you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sleep deprivation triggers body-wide inflammation, revving up sebum production and skin flare-ups.

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  • You’re at a higher risk of heart disease
    4 / 9 You’re at a higher risk of heart disease

    Sleep deprivation also takes a toll on your heart and puts you at a higher risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes, says a study published in the journal Current Cardiology Reviews. Researchers theorise that a lack of sleep stimulates sympathetic nervous system activity – your body’s fight or flight response – and this can elevate your heart rate and stress levels.

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  • You’ll forget things
    5 / 9 You’ll forget things

    Neuroscientists at the University of California, Riverside have discovered that the brain actually remains very active during sleep. As you cycle through different sleep stages, your brain is hard at work sorting and storing memories that were acquired during wakefulness. Without adequate sleep, you don’t spend as much time in deep sleep and this process gets affected. Try to remember this before you cue up the next episode in your latest Netflix binge.

    (Also Read: 8 Yoga Poses That Will Calm You Down Before Bedtime)

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  • Your sex drive suffers
    6 / 9 Your sex drive suffers

    When you’re tired, cranky and trying to function on just five hours of sleep, sex is probably the last thing on your mind. Blame your lowered sex drive on increased cortisol levels and fatigue. Yawn.

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  • You’re likelier to gain weight 
    7 / 9 You’re likelier to gain weight 

    Ever noticed how you feel more peckish when you’re tired? That’s because sleep deprivation causes hormonal disruption in your body, confusing your feelings for hunger and satiety. In a study involving roughly 60,000 women over a 16-year period, researchers found that those who slept five hours or less per night had a 15 per cent higher risk of becoming obese, compared to those who slept for seven hours a night. Don’t sabotage your weight loss efforts – just head to bed earlier tonight.

    (Also Read: 10 Yummy Foods That You Are Allowed To Eat Before Bed)

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  • You’ll be moodier
    8 / 9 You’ll be moodier

    Anxiety and sleeplessness go hand in hand, and one can affect the other. It’s normal to feel more irritable than usual when you’re running on empty, but studies have also shown that chronic sleep deprivation may lead to depression due to the neurochemical changes that occur in the brain.

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  • You’re likelier to die
    9 / 9 You’re likelier to die

    Don’t underestimate just how bad sleep deprivation is for your body. Research has found that sleeping for five hours or less every night increases your risk of dying from all causes by roughly 15 per cent. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body doesn’t have a chance to repair and is always functioning in a state of exhaustion.

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