Sleep deprivation is a thief. It steals our intelligence, our mental health, and our resilience, among other things. The first step in understanding sleep deprivation is being aware of the ways it hurts us. Then we can try to do something about it. So without further ado, here are the top five reasons you should take the effects of sleep deprivation seriously.
Once you learn how important sleep is, check out: 5 Tips to Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
1. Sleep Deprivation Can Lower Your IQ
If you like being smart, make sure you get enough sleep, because otherwise your brain is going to suffer for it. Yep, that’s right! One of the main side effects of sleep deprivation could be a lower IQ. More specifically, studies have shown that after you get too little sleep for five days in a row, your IQ may drop by as many as 15 points. If you need every IQ point you can get, this is a pretty big deal! Similarly, sleep deprivation can result in lower grades, so make sure you get enough rest if you’re in school.
2. Sleep Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Need another reason to sleep in? A 2005 poll by Sleep in America discovered that people with anxiety or depression were more likely to get fewer than six hours of sleep per night. Maybe it’s no coincidence that insomnia is often seen as one of the first signs of depression. And of course, the less sleep you get, the harder it is to stay upbeat and positive, creating a vicious cycle. So if you feel yourself slipping into a depressed or anxious state of mind, it’s time to get more sleep so you can improve your mental health.
3. Lack of Sleep Can Cause Health Problems
It’s not only your mental health that’s one of the side effects of sleep deprivation; it’s also your physical health. When you’re overtired, you increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and other health issues. Basically, if you want to stay healthy, you need your sleep! And it’s easier—and cheaper—to work on sleeping more than it is to have to see a doctor about your strange new symptoms when you get too little sleep. Keep this in mind next time you’re tempted to stay up late when you have to wake up early.
4. Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain
If you’re having trouble losing weight—or if you’ve suddenly gained a few pounds—your diet might not be the culprit. Instead, it could be due to your lack of sleep. That’s because one study found that people who got fewer than six hours of sleep per night were nearly 30 percent more likely to suffer from obesity than those who got more sleep. The relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain may be due to the fact that insufficient sleep leads to a lack of chemicals that regulate the appetite. To add insult to injury, on of the side effects of sleep deprivation is an increase in the chemicals in the brain that stimulate the appetite, which can cause weight gain. Sleeping more is probably easier on your body than working out more or eating a lot less, so give it a whirl if you’re struggling with your weight.
You can read more about this and other sleep deprivation issues when you browse: 10 Things to Hate About SleepLoss
5. People Now Get Less Sleep Than They Used To
Another reason you need to take the effects of sleep deprivation more seriously is that studies show people are sleeping less in recent years. In fact, Sleepdex.org says people sleep one and a half fewer hours per night than they did one century ago. This may be because not everyone knows about the importance of sleep; surely they’d get more if they knew all the benefits!
Are you ready to start getting better sleep? You probably want to avoid the negative effects of sleep deprivation. While the exact amount of sleep necessary varies from one adult to another, you should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night, with eight or nine being even better.
You can get started on getting more sleep by following the tips in this post: Sleep Better at Night with Yoga [And Other Things]
More sources on the effects of sleep deprivation:
C. L. Max Nikias On The Morning Habit That’s Changed His Life
Go To Bed! Why Sleep Is the Most Important Part of Your Workout Routine