Not getting enough rest each night can affect mental and emotional health, as well as physical well-being. Getting adequate sleep is important to all facets of a healthy and happy life, which is why it is vitally important to address sleep issues before they become serious problems. Research into sleep and emotions has revealed the particularly deleterious effect insufficient sleep can have on mental health.
Here is what you need to know about the physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation, signs to look out for, and the reasons why you may not be getting a sufficient amount of rest.
The Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There is no shortage of negative physical effects that may be experienced if you do not get enough sleep. These effects range from short-term nuisances to serious long-term issues. Most everyone can handle a minimal amount of sleep deprivation in various seasons in life. It is when this deprivation becomes a chronic issue that problems begin to arise.
Here are just a few of the long-term health issues that can result from sleep deprivation.
Too little sleep could boost your risk of developing cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure and pervasive inflammation.
Individuals who are suffering from sleep deprivation tend to put on excess weight. This happens for a variety of reasons, including the increase in fat storage and the release of excess insulin.
While it may not be an obvious connection at first, it is not unusual for fertility levels to drop as a result of sleep deprivation. This happens when the production of the sex hormones needed to conceive is altered.
Your hormone balance can be thrown into chaos if you are not getting sufficient sleep. This includes the suppression of growth hormones and testosterone and the increase in the release of stress hormones such as cortisol.
Immune System Disruptions
One of the most concerning effects of sleep deprivation is the manner in which it suppresses the immune system. A lack of sleep not only puts you more at risk of getting sick, but it also stymies the recovery process.
How Sleep and Emotions Are Related
While many people focus on the physical effects of sleep deprivation, scientists have also long known that there is a link between sleep and mental health. Not only does a lack of sleep leave you feeling groggy and even disoriented, but sleep deprivation can also have a devastating effect on overall mental and emotional health.
Sleep deprivation can affect nearly every facet of mental health. Those who are sleep deprived often perform poorly at school or on the job. This consistent lack of rest can also increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Research has also demonstrated that there is a greater chance of negative emotional responses if you are not getting the recommended amount of rest for your age and lifestyle.
Similarly, sleep deprivation can also decrease the chance of a positive emotional response when life is going well. By muting the normal emotions of life, lack of sleep can boost impulsive responses and negatively affect mental health.
Recent research has also demonstrated that a misalignment between the body’s internal clock and general sleeping habits can make people more vulnerable to mental health issues, further demonstrating the link between sleep and emotions.
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
You do not need to track your sleep to know that you are not getting enough shuteye each night. There are a number of reasons to suspect that you’re not getting enough sleep. The most obvious symptom of sleep deprivation is fatigue. This goes beyond the common bouts of fatigue that you may feel from time to time. Extreme fatigue can make you more irritable and prone to mood changes.
Those who are not getting enough sleep each night may also experience a reduced sex drive. Difficulty concentrating and focusing on the task at hand is also a sign that sleep needs are not being met. Having issues recalling memories and facts is another cause for concern.
Because sleep needs vary among individuals, you need to be aware of these symptoms so that you will know if you are getting the rest that you need for a happy and healthy life.
Why You May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep
There are numerous reasons why you may not be getting enough sleep, with some more obvious than others. External reasons that may lead to sleep issues include a poor sleeping environment, the use of electronic devices too close to bedtime, shift work that disrupts the natural circadian rhythms and life circumstances that mandate that your rest is interrupted.
In addition, there are a myriad of medical issues that may prevent you from resting soundly. Some of the most common health issues that contribute to sleep deprivation include sleep apnea, obesity, substance abuse, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and narcolepsy.
If you are worried that a lack of sleep is manifesting itself in the form of mental and emotional challenges, it is imperative that you consult with a medical professional to address the issue.