You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. You may not know what it can do to your sex life, memory, health, looks, and even ability to lose weight. Here are 10 surprising -- and serious -- effects ofsleep loss.
1. Sleepiness Causes Accidents
Sleep loss is a big public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries on the job.
2. Sleep Loss Dumbs You Down
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.
Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in "consolidating" memories in the mind. If you don't get enough sleep, you won't be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.
Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:
4. Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive
Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.
5. Sleepiness Is Depressing
Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to thesymptoms of depression.
The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression In fact,insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
6. Lack of Sleep Ages Your Skin
Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes."It's during deep sleep -- what we call slow-wave sleep -- that growth hormone is released,"It seems to be part of normal tissue repair -- patching the wear and tear of the day."
7. Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful
Brainevents called "sharp wave ripples" are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep Trying to keep your memory sharp? Try getting plenty of sleep.
8. Losing Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight
When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity.Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
9. Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Death
Those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
10. Sleep Loss Impairs Judgment, Especially About Sleep
Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely.
And if you work in a profession where it's important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.