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  • Writer's pictureDarrick Payne

How Poor Sleep Affects You

Whether you are not getting enough sleep or not getting quality sleep, there are a variety of ill effects related to sleep deprivation. Current statistics suggest that around two-thirds of Americans are not getting enough rest, and the implications of this are quite alarming.

Our bodies rejuvenate when we sleep, and all body functions are impacted by lack of rest. The following five areas are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how lack of proper sleep can hurt us:

  1. Diminished brain function: When we lack good rest, our brains do not recover well and can lead to a variety of effects. These include brain fog, poor learning and memory, and an inability to focus. In addition, with longterm sleep deprivation we can experience anxiety, depressed mood, and overall chronic stress. And lastly, poor sleep can lead to diminished social functioning, potentially affecting personal relationships, work, etc.

  2. Lower sex drive: Lack of sleep can actually lower the levels of variuos hormones and neurotransmitters that impact arousal and libido. Testosterone falls when we are sleep deprived, and this can directly diminish arousal. When we are fatigued, our bodies seek rest far more than sex.

  3. Decreased immune function: Sleep loss negatively impacts our immunity, setting us up for increased risk of infections, inflammation, and possibly even cancer. Our bodies need sleep to recuperate and recover, and our cells repair themselves while we rest.

  4. Increased risk of diabetes & heart disease: Sleep deprivation decreases the production of insulin, the hormone than regulates blood sugar levels and maintains proper glucose tolerance. If insulin is reduced chronically, we set ourselves up for insulin resistance, the first step towards diabetes. Sleep deprivation also impacts our body's cardiovascular system in multiple ways. Our blood vessels lose some of their elasticity and can lead to high blood pressure, our lipd/cholesterol levels can be negatively affected, and the general inflammation sets us up for arterial plaques and blood vessel blockages.

  5. Weight gain: Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to both eating more and eating unhealtier options. Apparently when we are tired we tend to make poor nutrition choices. In addition, when we are tired we tend to be less active, also contributing to weight gain.

There are other ill effctes related to poor sleep, but I hope these are enough to prompt you to find ways to get better sleep. There are many factors that can impact this , such as your lifestyle, diet, exercise (or lack thereof), hormone levels, and stress. I think all of these need to be addressed in order to help on the quest for amazing sleep!

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