Grooming7 Horrible Things That Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Body
Get to bed, damnit. Or else.
Picture this scene: It’s a weeknight, and you’re desperately trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but then, just as it looks like sweet, sweet sleep might be on the horizon, your whole plan gets derailed. Maybe it’s a Netflix show you’ve all of a sudden gotten hooked on and just want to watch one-to-seven more episodes of. (Stranger Things, anyone?) Or maybe it’s a friend dragging you out of the house at 11 o’clock on a Monday, of all days, convincing you to get a few drinks and depositing you back at your place just in time for sunrise. Whatever the case, you end up barely making it into office the next morning, grasping your coffee mug for dear life for the remainder of the day and counting the seconds until you can get home and pass out.
Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be ashamed of; we’ve all had a few unexpectedly unrestful nights along the way. But the trouble arises when it becomes a habit. That’s because sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your body—and we’re not just talking about those bags that’ve taken up residence under your eyes. Here, just a few of the many nasty side effects that regularly not getting the recommended seven-to-nine hours of shuteye can cause.
1. Hello, Skin Problems
It’s not exactly news that the day after not getting much sleep, you’re not exactly going to look 100%. But the longer you go depriving your body of the time it needs to rest and regenerate, the more severe, and permanent, those effects are going to become. For example, those who don’t get enough sleep increase their risk of early aging, as those hours are usually when collagen and other proteins that give skin its elasticity are repaired. Also, they’ve got a higher chance at developing acne, as sleep helps to rebalance the skin’s natural moisture content. And no amount of grooming is going to make it all better.
2. So Long, Sex Drive
Yup, you read that right: going without sleep for too long can actually leave you feeling uninterested in doing the deed, something a younger you would never be able to fathom. This is dues to your body not being able to produce as much testosterone, as that requires a process that happens only when you’re in the deepest stages of sleep. Yikes.
3. You Thought Your Hair Was Thinning Before?
Just wait until you’ve gone a few days not getting enough sleep. Studies have shown that there’s a link between lack of adequate shuteye and losing your hair. That’s because sleep deprivation, and the stress that so often goes along with it, affects hormone levels in the body, triggering the onset of male pattern baldness in those susceptible. Which, research suggests, is about half of all men are.
4. And Speaking of Thinning…
If you’re sleep deprived, then chances are you won’t be doing much of it—thinning, that is—in the gut region, since sleep plays a hand in controlling the two hormones that affect your appetite. These hormones are called ghrelin and leptin; the former tells the brain that you’re hungry, and the latter tells the brain that you’re not. In those that are sleep deprived, scientists have seen increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin, causing them to constantly crave a meal. That wouldn’t exactly be helpful for dieting, now would it?
5. Wait, What Were We About to Say?
Oh right, that other than leaving you groggy—and, according to the Royal Society For Public Health, the equivalent of having a blood alcohol content of 0.10% after 24 hours of being awake—sleep deprivation can drastically affect your memory, as night is the time when the brain turns short-term memories into permanent ones.
6. The Gym Stops Doing You Any Good
You know what else happens when you sleep? All those hour you logged bench-pressing, squatting, and curling your way to a better body get turned into measurable gains in your muscles. No REM sleep = no increase in muscle muscle mass, period.
7. And Then, There’s The Really Serious Stuff
Diabetes. Heart attack. Stroke. Death. Don’t sleep enough, and your chances for all of the above skyrocket.