When you’re not getting enough sleep, you might just supplement the lack of energy with extra caffeine throughout the day. However, when sleep deprivation becomes a regular occurrence in your life, it can cause serious effects on your health and quality of life. Whether you keep staying up late binge-watching TV, or you suffer from a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea that’s preventing you from getting a good night of sleep, it’s important to know the effects of leaving these conditions untreated.
1. Weight Gain
When sleep deprivation is a regular occurrence, you might begin to notice your pants feeling a bit tighter and a change in your eating habits. This is because sleep deprivation can affect your hunger hormones. Sleep deprivation can result in decreased leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels. In other words, you will feel hungrier more often and you will crave high fat, high carbohydrate food. A study from 2004 found that people who slept 6 hours per day were 30% more likely to become obese than those who slept 7 to 9 hours. Getting the right amount of sleep will prevent hunger hormone disruption and help keep weight gain away.
2. Thinking and Learning Problems
When you don’t get a good night of sleep, have you noticed how your brain just doesn’t seem to work right during the day? You might try to remedy this by drinking tons of caffeine. However, studies found that although caffeine can help increase your energy, reduce sleepiness, and improve your mood, it won’t help get rid of the concentration problems that come with sleep deprivation. If you want to perform your best at work or in school, make sure you get a full night of sleep. Otherwise, expect to experience problems with alertness, attention, concentrating, problem-solving, and reasoning.
3. Increased Risk of Heart Problems
Chronic sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are commonly associated with other health conditions and can increase your risk for heart problems such as the following.
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
4. Lack of Sex Drive
When you’re not getting enough sleep, it kills your energy level and as a result, your libido. Lack of energy, sleepiness, and mood changes aren’t exactly a winning combination to get in the mood with your partner. If sleep apnea is the cause of your sleep deprivation, it’s important to know that sleep apnea can cause low testosterone levels in men which can also affect sex drive.
5. Increased Risk of Accidents
When you’re sleep-deprived, you can’t think as clearly or focus as much as you need to. You might even drift off to sleep throughout the day. As a result, sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of accidents including car accidents and accidents when operating heavy machinery. Sleep deprivation was actually a contributing factor to some of the biggest disasters in history including the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, the 1896 nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl, and the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill. Not sleeping enough and getting behind the wheel or behind heavy machinery can harm your life and others.
6. Premature Aging
When you don’t sleep enough, some noticeable effects will happen to your skin including puffy eyes, sallow skin, dark circles, fine lines, and lackluster skin. Not sleeping enough increases cortisol levels which can break down skin collagen which is important for maintaining the smoothness and elasticity of your skin. If you want to maintain your youthful appearance, getting a good night of sleep is essential.
7. Memory Problems
If you struggle to remember things, your sleep deprivation likely plays a role. Researchers learned that during deep sleep, a sensation called “sharp brain ripples” occurs and is responsible for consolidating memory. These ripples transfer memories to the neocortex of the brain from the hippocampus. Since these only occur during the deepest levels of sleep, if you’re not sleeping enough or your sleep gets constantly interrupted due to sleep apnea, these ripples don’t occur. That means your memories don’t get stored.
8. Impaired Judgement
When you’re sleep-deprived, it impairs your interpretation of events. This means it can impair your judgments because you don’t remember things correctly. You might also have impaired judgment about making important decisions because you can’t think about them clearly before making your decision.
Prevent Sleep Deprivation with Sleep Apnea Treatment in Detroit
If you’re feeling fatigued every day but think you’re getting the right amount of sleep, sleep apnea might be the cause. Other signs and symptoms include loud snoring, choking, coughing, and snorting during sleep, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, depression, sexual dysfunction, and many others. Fortunately, at Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, we can help you get your sleep health back on track.
Whether you’re already diagnosed with sleep apnea or you’re in need of diagnosis, we can point you in the right direction. Once you’re diagnosed, we can explore our different sleep apnea treatment options together. After you start wearing your oral appliance every night, you will start to actually get a full night of sleep—uninterrupted. Eventually, your sleep deprivation symptoms will go away and your quality of life will increase.