Can Sleep Deprivation be Deadly?


Sleep Deprivation - Can it be deadly?

We all need to sleep in […]


Sleep Deprivation - Can it be deadly?

We all need to sleep in order to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. A lack of sleep can affect you both physically and mentally, increasing your risks of developing diseases and falling ill.
According to the NHS website, missing one nights sleep won’t affect your health but several sleepless nights can. (1)
Sleep is vital to leading a happy and health lifestyle. When you sleep, your body is able to repair itself, restore your energy levels and prepare for the next day.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
― Mahatma Gandhi (2)

5 Major Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is often underestimated for its ability to seriously impact a person’s health and wellbeing. There are many different ways staying up late at night can increase your chances of becoming ill and also damage you physically and emotionally.

Here are the 5 major effects sleep deprivation can have on a person.

Emotionally Unbalanced

Not only will a lack of sleep cause you to be both irritable and moody but it will also affect your ability to analyse other people’s emotions. This could be potentially damaging for relationships both at home and in work, as you won’t be able to emotionally respond to another’s needs. A small argument could quickly escalate into a massive row, if a person has not gained a sufficient amount of sleep the night before.

Stress can keep you up at night with worry and anxiety. Like a vicious circle, a lack of sleep due to stress can lead to more stress and anxiety that you can’t sleep. This emotional trauma can affect your life considerably and even lead to depression. (3)

Dangerously Tired

Did you know that a quarter of all accidents on British main roads, which result in death or serious injury, are directly related to fatigue. (4) Exhaustion can be fatal especially for those who are driving or operating machinery of some sort. A lack of concentration, reduced response rate and the false sense of security sleep deprivation can cause, are all major contributions to fatal accidents.

In fact, tiredness has been linked to a number of major disasters throughout history. The Chernobyl nuclear explosion is just one of the many incidents which has been blamed on fatigue. According to reports, engineers involved had been working shifts of up to 13 hours or more at a time. (5)

Sleep deprivation

Life Expectancy Reduced

There is a direct link between life expectancy and the number of hours of sleep a person gets per night. Those who manage to get at least seven hours of sleep a night have a higher life expectancy  than those who only clock in six. The NHS website claims that sleeping less than six hours a night makes you 12% more likely to die prematurely than someone who sleeps up to eight hours. (6)

This could be due to the fact that your immune system can be weakened and you can become prone to illness if you are sleep deprived. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that it’s more likely that your body won’t be able to defend itself against a nasty illness as easily, if you are tired.(7)

Moreover, as previously mentioned, you are far more likely to seriously injure or even kill yourself when you feel drained and you cannot concentrate.

Physically Drained

With little or limited sleep, your body hasn’t had the chance to go into sufficient deep sleep, which means your muscles and tissues won’t have had time to recover and be repaired from the previous days activities. This could lead to an increase in chronic pain.

Not only will your body feel tired but your appearance will suffer. Red puffy eyes are one of the main giveaways that someone has had a bad nights sleep. If you care about your appearance, a lack of sleep can also cause early on-set ageing.

Fatigue is often a major excuse for a low sex drive as people claim they are far too tired to be intimate with their partner. This can lead to relationship breakdowns and stress.

Prone to Disease

Being unable to sleep or not sleeping enough over a long period of time can leave you prone to a number of serious health problems. Sleep disorders and disturbed sleep can put you at risk of a heart attack, heart disease, heart failure and even an irregular heartbeat.

Sleep disorders can raise a person’s blood pressure and significantly increase your chances of having a stroke or developing Diabetes.

Those who are already living with a health problem will experience worse symptoms when in need of a good nights sleep, not to mention increased chronic pain. (8)

Sleep is something we all need and should aspire to get a sufficient amount of. To have a restful nights sleep ensure you have a cool, comfortable bedroom, free from any electronics and work related items which could affect your chances of relaxation. Try not to watch TV before you go to bed, instead pick up a book or listen to some relaxing music.

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