What Prolonged Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain

So you stayed up hours past bedtime, swept away by a mystery novel or cramming before tomorrow’s presentation. And you’re feeling it. Missing out on the recommended 8 to 9 hours of nightly shut-eye does a lot more than make you feel cranky the next day. It actually has lasting effects on the brain.

Science has connected prolonged sleep deprivation to all sorts of serious health problems, from high blood pressure to memory issues. And it makes sense! Your body needs sleep, just as much as it needs oxygen and adequate nutrition. In fact, a recent meta-analysis of 12 popular sleep studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night actually increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent. Yikes!

Here are some other effects of
prolonged sleep deprivation:

Memory impairment

During deep sleep, your brain forms and reinforces connections that help you process and remember new information. As such, a lack of sleep can negatively impact both your short-term and long-term memory. It’s not worth it!

Trouble concentrating

Feel your concentration go out the window when you’re tired? That’s because your ability to focus, your creativity and your problem-solving skills suffer when you aren’t getting enough rest each night.

High blood pressure

Sleep less than five hours a night and your risk for high blood pressure increases significantly. High blood pressure, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure, vision loss, stroke and kidney disease.

Weight gain

Sleep deprived people usually overcompensate by reaching for extra cups of coffee and sugar-filled, carbohydrate-heavy snacks. This vicious cycle can sabotage your waistline and your health. Fighting sleepiness? Force yourself to make good food choices and catch up on your rest — nightly.

Increased risk for diabetes

Sleep deprivation is an often overlooked but significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Why? Skimping on nightly shuteye throws your hormones out of whack, causing imbalances in both insulin and cortisol.

Weakened immunity

The immune system (like everything else) functions at its best when you’re getting enough sleep. Again, think 7 to 9 hours each night. When chronically sleep deprived, your body has a lower antibody response, making it all the more likely that you’ll get sick when you’re worn out from lack of sleep.

Accidents

Not only does sleep deprivation adversely affect memory and immunity; it can actually be dangerous. Sleep deprivation compromises you cognitively, physically and emotionally, making you more prone to accidents. In fact, recent research has found that drowsy driving is just as risky as drunk driving. Look out for yourself and others. Get enough shuteye.

Mood swings

Sleep and mood are closely connected. So much so that after a single restless night you may be more short-tempered, irritable and vulnerable to stress. And the reverse is also true. A bad mood can also affect sleep; anxiety increases agitation, which makes it hard to sleep when the time comes.

Without sleep, body and brain functions just don’t operate normally. Memory impairment, increased risk of accidents, weakened immunity…these things affect our lives — some, quite significantly so. Don’t let sleep deprivation harm your quality of life. Go to bed on time!

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35 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you.

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Ruth S
Ruth S9 months ago

Thanks.

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Jamey Forester
Past Member 9 months ago

Sleep deprivation isn't problem for me since I have been taking Waklert https://modafinilxl.com/what-is-waklert-used-for-how-work/ However, everyone should be careful with dosages.

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Jetana A
Jetana A9 months ago

Chronic insomnia for decades.... So I looked at "related storles" to see what Care2 writers recommend. Interestingly, one article is about TOO MUCH SLEEP damaging the heart. My heart must be quite robust!

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Thanks.

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