Why Lack of Sleep Is a Health Risk

It’s important to address sleep loss before it becomes an issue

A tired man who doesn’t get enough sleep yawns.
Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

We know wakeful nights can make us feel wretched, but is insomnia harmful? The answer lies in the severity of sleeplessness and your current health.

You might not imagine remaining awake often when you ought to sleep is a serious problem. Everyone stays up late now and then or goes through a period when sleep is difficult.

Illness, stress, excitement, over-stimulation of your mind, pain, and a variety of other factors can cause nights spent tossing and turning instead of sleeping. The effects of insomnia, however, can cause damage and snowball.

Even after one night without proper sleep, you are likely to feel rough. Your physical reaction speed will be slow, thoughts hazy, and memory poor. You might crave carbohydrates and sugary foods, and perhaps you will be irritable and impatient.

Your immune system will take a small knock, so you catch viruses more easily than normal too. Luckily, you can recover from a little sleep loss without much effort. Suffer from frequent sleep difficulties, though, and the prospects aren’t so bright.

Because your system is set to go-slow mode you might grab micro-sleeps without knowing they occur. Studies show that parts of your brain switch off when you need sleep, even though you look wide awake.

Naturally, you need all parts of your brain to function well when driving a car, making important decisions, or carrying out everyday actions like crossing the road. Countless accidents occur at the same time as micro-sleeps.

When you have severe insomnia, you might suffer from partial hallucinations, whereby your brain jumps to conclusions about what it thinks you see as your eyes don’t focus clearly and your attention span weakens. Driving or operating machinery at such a time is hazardous.

You may be depressed and tearful, and your relationships could suffer since you become withdrawn and have no energy to keep them strong.

Research suggests going with little sleep over a long period can make you susceptible to diseases that might lead to your demise. We also know when severely deprived of sleep, rats die.

Before their untimely end, they rapidly lose weight, even when they are motionless. It might be possible we too would die if we did not sleep. Plus, even if not sleeping does not kill you, you might already have an illness that puts you at risk if you have insomnia.

Insomnia has the potential to produce countless harmful effects relating to your mental and emotional health, so it’s important to address sleep loss before it becomes an issue.

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