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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Body are Pretty Scary

Leena Palande Jun 18, 2019
These days, not only the elderly but youngsters are also suffering from insomnia. Effects of sleep deprivation on the body can be quite disastrous. There can be adverse effects of insufficient sleep on the brain, heart, immune system, digestive system; in fact on the whole body.
People often complain that toss and turn for hours in bed before they finally fall asleep. Therefore, they tend to postpone their sleeping hour as they know that they will not be able to sleep. Some people wake up in the night and then find it difficult to fall back to sleep. Realizing that you are suffering from insomnia is one of the most important things.
Overlooking the signs and symptoms of insomnia can prove life-threatening. Timely diagnosis helps prevent devastating effects of sleep deprivation on the body. Let us take a look at the causes of insomnia first; because removing the cause helps alleviate the symptoms.

Acute Insomnia

If you suffer from sleep deprivation for less than a month then it is referred to as acute insomnia.

Causes of acute insomnia

~ Side effect of certain medications, drugs or stimulants
~ Occurrence of certain diseases or disorders
~ Hormonal changes (like those experienced by women during menstruation)
~ Mild to severe pain in the body, due to any reason
~ Fear, stress
~ Anxiety due to any problem, for example, work problems, financial crisis, etc.
~ Arrival of the baby in the family
~ Death of a close person
~ Sudden change in environment, staying away from family and friends

Chronic Insomnia

Prolonged sleeplessness (for more than a month) is termed as chronic insomnia.

Causes of chronic insomnia

~ Weak psychological condition leading to excessive stress, anxiety, fear
~ Bad sleeping habits, like working late night
~ Environmental disturbances like noise, extreme temperatures
~ Drastic change in the lifestyle, disrupting the normal sleep/wake pattern
~ Side effects of drugs and medications
~ Drug or alcohol abuse or high consumption of caffeine
~ Any chronic physical or psychological disease/disorder: For example, depression, cancer, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, Parkinson's disease, etc.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Body

Sleep is essential for the body as it helps enhance the brain function. Disrupted circadian rhythm can result in serious health hazards.
Affected production of sleep hormone melatonin results in impaired function of hormone leptin which controls your appetite. Prolonged insomnia may lead to obesity. Short term effects of insomnia may seem mild but long term effects on brain can prove to be life-threatening.
Heart, immune system, digestive system, nervous system, everything is seriously affected if a person is suffering from insomnia over an extended period.
• Imbalance of growth hormones due to lack of sleep leads to severe consequences.

• Transmission of messages through nerves gets affected.

• Due to impaired working memory, difficulty in performing daily activities is experienced by the person.
• Personality of the person changes significantly. Increased irritability, increased anger can be noticed.

• Reduced alertness and decreased cognitive performance can be observed.
• Lack of sleep affects the capacity of the heart. The person may suffer from high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
• High blood pressure can result in several health complications like kidney failure.

• The person loses his control over mind and body as well.

• Dizziness, nausea and headaches become common.

• The person develops negativity and a pessimistic outlook due to poor performance in every field and lack of energy.
• Those who are victims of insomnia have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as controlling blood sugar levels becomes difficult.
• Disturbed function of nervous system leads to hallucinations, memory loss, lack of concentration, hair loss, vision problems etc.

• Severe mood swings, impaired judgment, psychosis (losing connection with the reality) are some other effects of sleeplessness.
• Loss of appetite, nausea and hormonal imbalance result in dysfunction of digestive system which in turn leads to stomach upset, indigestion, acid reflux, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, etc.

• All these effects result in weak immune system and the person's chances of catching infections or developing diseases increase significantly.
Human brain cannot function normally, if the body does not get sufficient rest during sleep. Effects of sleep deprivation on the body may appear mild in the beginning but when the severity of the problem is realized, it can be too late to treat. Severe insomnia can prove to be fatal.
Small children, teenagers need to develop the habit of 'early to bed, early to rise'. Timely detection of the signs and symptoms of sleeplessness, prompt diagnosis, correct treatment (depending upon the cause), simple lifestyle changes can help avoid the disastrous effects of insomnia on the body.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.