March 19, 2019
Waking up after a good night’s sleep is a great way to start your day. However, sleep deprivation can often make you feel irritable, fatigued, and unlike your usual self. Sleep deprivation increases your risk for mood disorders like depression; it also weakens your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to serious health conditions like heart disease and cancer.
If you or a loved one has been struggling with sleeplessness, a sleep specialist can help you get to the root cause of your sleeping problems. Allowing a sleep disorder to go undiagnosed and untreated can have serious, devastating, and long-lasting health consequences.
Here are 7 concerning effects of sleep loss on your body:
1. Poor Balance and Coordination
Moderate sleep deprivation has the same effects on motor control as alcohol intoxication. If you’re lacking sleep, you may stumble around and have poor balance and coordination. This puts you at higher risk for falls, physical accidents, and injuries. You may also have a slower reaction time.
2. Problems with Memory and Concentration
As you sleep, your brain forms new pathways between nerve cells that help you process and retain new information. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain is unable to form these pathways—making it more difficult for you to focus, concentrate, and remember new things you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation can affect both your short- and long-term memory and interfere with your ability to complete tasks efficiently.
3. Weakened Immune System
Your body produces cytokines while you sleep, which are substances that strengthen your immune system and fight off bacteria, viruses, and infections. Sleep deprivation can inhibit your body’s production of cytokines to make you more vulnerable to illness and disease. If you suffer from sleep loss, you may become sick more frequently and spend a longer time recovering from illnesses.
4. Weight Gain
Sleep loss upsets the balance of hormones that control and regulate your appetite. This makes you more prone to cravings and overeating because your brain fails to receive signals that you’re full and that it’s time to stop eating. Lack of sleep can also make you feel less motivated and too tired to exercise, which also contributes to weight gain.
5. Low Sexual Libido
Sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone will fluctuate and go off-balance when you’re lacking sleep. This can lead to low sex drive and libido, as well as problems with fertility and erectile dysfunction.
6. High Blood Pressure
People who suffer from insomnia and sleep deprivation are more likely to also have high blood pressure. A lack of sleep increases the body’s production of a stress hormone called cortisol that contributes to high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea is another sleep disorder that can spike blood pressure, since this condition causes blood oxygen levels to drop and puts excess strain on the cardiovascular system.
Contact a sleep doctor immediately if you suffer from the types of sleep disorders that cause high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is a risk factor for a heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The cytokines your body produces while you sleep also have the ability to fight inflammation. Those who suffer from sleep deprivation have increased levels of inflammatory markers in their blood that are linked to chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, arthritis, gum disease, and cancer. Sleep deprivation also inhibits your body’s production of a sleep hormone called melatonin that helps reduce both acute and chronic inflammation.
At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we are highly trained in all types of sleep disorders and are devoted to helping you find the safest treatments. Our team of sleep doctors can perform a sleep study and work with you individually by giving you the highest quality personalized care and treatment. Schedule an appointment or call us today at (972) 258-7499.