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Effects of Stress and Lack of Sleep

Sujata Iyer Nov 18, 2018
Our fast-paced lives and the limited time that we seem to have to carry out our so-called important activities are undoubtedly taking a major toll on our physical and psychological well-being. The lack of sleep not only creates stress but also takes a toll on a our health.
While the initial symptoms may not seem to be very alarming, prolonged stress and lack of sleep due to our busy lives and schedule, can manifest themselves in some very discomforting and unhealthy ways. Have a look at some of the significant effects of stress and lack of sleep that you may fall prey to.

Weight Loss

When you are stressed, you unknowingly give less importance to eating healthy food and sleeping for enough hours. The lack of sleep affects your body clock, and the body fails to adjust to the random eating which results in rapid and unhealthy weight loss.

Lower Immunity

Our body is built such that it treats excess physical stress as an infection. Sensing a possible infection, the immune system immediately activates immune cells to protect the body.
In this process, any actual viral or bacterial infection is most likely ignored or not given enough attention to be cured at the same rate as if the body was not stressed.

Reduced Sex Drive

High levels of stress, coupled with low levels of sleep and rest lead to a reduced interest in sex. This is more common in women. By the time women reach menopause age, if they are under a lot of stress, and do not rest enough, their sex drive gets reduced considerably.

Reduced Fertility

Along with a reduction in the sex drive, people who are under a lot of stress, also tend to become less fertile. Due to the increased level of cortisol, ovulation in women can become irregular, and there is a reduction in the sperm count in men. This could again lead to undue stress in them.


Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep are all interlinked. When you are under a lot of stress, you cannot sleep. This lack of sleep combined with stress makes you anxious.
The anxiety, in turn, makes you want to sleep, but you cannot, so you get increasingly stressed. So, it is a circle that can be broken only be relaxing your mind and body.


The inability to have a good night's sleep can manifest itself in some very dangerous ways. You are not well rested, hence you are tired right from the beginning of the day.
Due to the tiredness, you cannot concentrate on things properly, you cannot focus and are unable to stay alert. All these are the ingredients for an accident waiting to happen.

Difficulty in Concentrating

Lack of sleep makes you unable to focus on anything specific. Combined with stress, it leads to a very short attention span, in which you keep getting distracted and are unable to regain focus and concentration.

Mood Swings

It is only natural for someone who has not been able to sleep to feel moody and snappy for no apparent reason. Though the underlying reason for the lack of sleep may be stress, it is reflected in sudden moodiness and grumpiness.

Increased Cortisol

Sleep deprivation for an extended period can lead to a large amount of cortisol in the body. This could lead to other health issues like a lowered immunity, diabetes, memory loss, etc.

Psychological Problems

If not treated in time and with appropriate measures, excess stress and sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on the person's mental health.
Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, anti-social behavior, etc. are just some of the possible psychological problems that could affect the person.
After reading about so many side effects of lack of sleep and stress, you should realize how imperative it is that you take good care of your health.
Work relentlessly, but take a short break once in a while. Give your body some time to relax and regain its energy before getting back to work. Indulge in stress reducing therapies and relaxation techniques to have a fit and well rested body. It will surely reflect in your work.