The effects of sleep deprivation can manifest as both mental and physical symptoms, both of which are very harmful. Researchers actually estimate that sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers around $63 billion every year because 25% of all workers don’t get enough sleep at night and aren’t productive during the day. One-third of all Americans say that they get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, and 43% of American teens and adults say that they rarely get a good night’s sleep on weeknights.
Besides the mental effects of sleep deprivation, the physical effects can be very taxing. Here’s a quick look at what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep at night:
- When you get less sleep, your body needs to find energy from another source; this translates into being hungrier. People tend to have a strong preference for high-carb, high-fat foods when they’re over-tired.
- You’ve probably also noticed the puffy bags under your eyes when you aren’t getting enough sleep, but it doesn’t stop there. One study from researchers in Stockholm, Sweden discovered that people look sadder and less healthy overall when they don’t get enough sleep. Because the body repairs skin while you sleep, you might find that dermatological problems take longer to heal if you aren’t sleeping enough.
- Your immune system is less effective when you’re sleep deprived. A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that sleeping less than seven hours a night triples a person’s risk of catching a cold, and that’s just the beginning. The immune system releases proteins called “cytokines” when the body sleeps. These help fight off inflammation. Researchers have also found decreased levels of infection-fighting cells in people who aren’t sleeping enough.
You should consult a doctor if you still can’t sleep but changing your habits before bed could be a good advantage for you. Another reason there could be a lack of sleep is your mattress, which needs to be replaced every seven years. Adjustable beds can also be a great help and can help provide positions that can aid in your comfort.
If you haven’t been prioritizing your sleep schedule lately, it’s definitely time to start!