It is the condition of being deprived of sleep or not having enough sleep. Usually it is the cumulative deficiency of sleep over a period of time.
Everything is alright until the sleep deprivation effects emerge in the form of physical and psychiatric symptoms. Sleep deprivation also affects your emotional behavior and social relations.
Sleeping is a basic requirement and necessity of all human beings and its deprivation can even risk causing death. In fact, sleep deprivation is also used as a form of torture – did you know that? I didn’t!
Sleep deprivation is bad for you, especially if you are writers and bloggers, or people who work late at night. I can see you nodding your head right now!
How many of you sleep late at night or sleep less? I’m sure most of you are guilty there – aren’t you?
You try to sacrifice your sleep time and compensate it to do your work. You believe you’re making better use of the time. But are you really doing that?
Well, well. That’s where you go wrong.
Sleeping is no waste of time. However, being practical about your busy and not-so perfect world, it’s okay occasionally to work overtime and sacrifice a part of your sleep.
I know a lot of bloggers who prefer working late at night, instead of the mornings. That’s because they have a full time job to take care of the in the morning, so find time for blogging only at night.
Or because they prefer the quiet and undisturbed atmosphere at night, that gets their creative juices flowing. I was once like that, but that was a long time ago.
But it becomes a matter of concern if such a practice turns out to be a daily affair or habit. It is then that you face the ugly music of the sleep deprivation effects.
Do you know what could happen if you are deprived of sleep? Well, here’s a brief list of things that happen when you sleep less, or don’t sleep for the required number of hours, which you’d like to avoid.
1. You look ugly
Try this out – compare a photograph of your face when you’re fresh after a good sleep for a few days with the one when you slept less for a few days.
Honestly, tell me what did you notice?
You can make out from the faces of people who are deprived of sleep. They have sore eyes, saggy cheeks, lifeless expression, and dark circles under the eyes.
Not only that, even their skin loses its beauty and sheen. In fact, scientists have researched to prove that sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process too.
Do you know that sleep restriction increases the stress hormones, or the cortisol levels in the body? This hormone breaks the protein collagen, which helps keep the skin elastic and smooth.
If you want to keep looking beautiful, fresh, and young – have your full quota of sleep, daily.
2. You underperform
Lack of sleep makes you feel exhausted.
If you don’t sleep for a night, or a few nights, you experience the fatigue that’s similar to the one you experience after driving continuously for many hours!
You’re no longer alert, and easily get distracted from whatever you’re doing. Apart from your ability to concentrate, sleep deprivation also adversely affects your cognitive abilities.
In such a situation, you don’t feel like doing anything, and even if you do, you’re not able to put in your heart and mind completely. This reduces your efficiency and productivity a great deal.
You’re left with the minimized ability to do mechanical or routine jobs, and your abstract thinking and creative ability goes for a six.
The only way out is to avoid these sleep deprivation effects.
3. You lose your mind
Of course, not literally, but you experience quite seemingly a similar state of mind. You become confused, disoriented, drowsy, and hallucinated.
You seem to hear and see things, which aren’t there. You get a lightheaded feeling and the world seems to go round.
You find difficulty in concentrating and focusing on a job, and you’re not able to make decisions as you used to. You seem to forget more and suffer from poor memory.
Your subdued mind causes unreasonable changes to your mood. You also become easily frustrated, and even your temper rises rather quickly.
You literally live on the edge, because your mind isn’t stable and you cannot relax. Not to mention that since your anxiety levels remain high, your personal and professional matters tend to suffer.
Your stress threshold level lowers down, and even doing regular and routine tasks seem to overwhelm you.
Remember, if you’re working at an important project – then make it a point to have a good night’s sleep, for it will only do you good in the long run.
4. You risk your life
I don’t know if you’ve heard of such incidents, but I’ve seen and heard about road accidents that happen just because the driver dozed off due to lack of sleep – this is real serious.
One of the most dreaded sleep deprivation effects is excessive daytime sleeplessness, and the major cause of traffic accidents.
In fact, your state after long hours of waking up by avoiding sleep is quite like being under the effect of alcohol.
Slurred voice, drooping eyelids, shaky hands, and uncontrolled reflexive movements are some of the symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol that are similar to a person who is deprived of sleep.
So, as you’re advised not to mix drink and drive, and not drive when drunk, the same applies in the case of lack of sleep.
Never attempt any job that needs you to be alert when you’re under any of the sleep deprivation effects.
The effects of sleep deprivation are not only limited to automotive injuries, but also occupational injuries.
Many accidents happen in factories, mills, and other work places when the workers work continuously avoiding sleep.
If you wish for your safety and long life, make sure you sleep well before you go to work.
5. You develop lifestyle diseases
The sedentary lifestyle invites many diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Chronic sleep deprivation also increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and of course other stress related disorders.
In addition, your immune system too weakens, inviting hordes of harmful organism and diseases to attack your body and infect you.
Keep away from all such lifestyle diseases by sleeping enough. The choice is always in your hands.
6. You become obese
There have been many recent popular researches that point out that sleep deprivation puts you at a greater risk of becoming obese.
Studies suggest that the fat cells in sleep deprived people are less sensitive to insulin, which is a hormone that controls blood sugar.
It’s to be noted that insulin insensitivity is linked to both, diabetes and obesity.
Another theory for weight gain is that sleep deprivation causes less efficient burning of calories, and there is unfavorable variation in eating and exercise habits due to the resulting fatigue.
It has also been found that those who don’t sleep enough tend to eat more calories, which accumulates with time.
Besides this, sleep deprivation cause imbalance of hormones that suppress and stimulate appetite, which eventually leads to increase in food cravings.
So, if you want to stay fit and healthy, and live an ideal lifestyle then check out if you’re really sleeping well.
7. Your sex drive lessens
The sleep deprivation effects are not only related to the professional arena but it even touches the very private aspects of your life.
Your miserable state due to lack of sleep could even cause interpersonal conflicts and other significant problems in a relationship.
This also happens because you’re obsessed with and possessed by work. When you’re engrossed with work all the time – where do you get the time and energy for personal intimacy?
Due to work pressure and anxiety, your adrenaline levels drop while the stress hormone cortisol levels rise up. All the factors combined make you lose interest in sex.
Research even suggests that men with sleep apnea have low testosterone levels, and thus lower libido.
If you want to keep your passions and desires alive, then consider fulfilling your quota of required sleep daily.
8. Your quality of life suffers
Your sullen look, poor performance at work, and an unstable state of mind hit on your self-esteem.
Lack of self-worth, coupled with feelings and thoughts of negativity, makes one’s life miserable. The sleep deprivation effects often fill your life with depression.
Even your growth retards or slows down, as the body releases less growth hormone when you sleep less.
You might miss on life’s wonderful moments by rushing through your life. You might not able to participate in social and family activities, which may rob you of your moments of happiness.
In other words, you no longer have the quality of life you always wanted.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.