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9 Health Issues That Can Happen When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Updated on November 1, 2017

The human body needs between seven and eight hours of sleep every night for it to function properly the next day. If you fail to get the recommended amount of sleep, it can affect your body in all kinds of ways including weight loss, health and memory.

What are the possible side effects that can result from a lack of sleep?


Sleepiness can decrease your reaction time, similar to what you see with drunk drivers. According to various studies, a lack of sleep or good sleep increases the chances for workplace and driving accidents. Workers in one study experienced increase daytime sleepiness and had more repeated work accidents.

Slow Cognitive Function

Sleep is imperative for thinking and learning. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain is unable to process the information being relayed to you. You’re not as alert, and your problem-solving skills are affected. Proper learning means getting the right amount of sleep.

Judgment Impairment

People who don’t get enough sleep tend to make poor decisions. If your profession calls for sharp critical thinking and quick decisions, a lack of sleep could hinder you from making the right call.

Memory Problems

Both French and American researchers discovered brain events known as sharp wave ripples were the ones responsible for fusing memory. They are also responsible for the transference of learned memory from the hippocampus to the brain’s neocortex, which stores long-term memories. These ripples come when a person is in a deep sleep.


Not getting enough sleep, for whatever reason, can lead to depression. A 2005 poll found that people diagnosed with depression or anxiety did not get enough sleep. In fact, they only got six or fewer hours a night.

Premature Aging

When people don’t get enough sleep, it can cause puffy eyes and sallow skin. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause fine lines, dark eye circles and dull skin.

Weight Gain

When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, it leads to a higher hunger level and an increase in their appetite. A 2004 study revealed that people sleeping less than six hours a night had a 30 percent higher chance of gaining weight and becoming obese than people who slept between seven and nine hours each night.

Health Issues

Sleep can affect your health in a multitude of ways including but not limited to: heart disease, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and heart failure. When you fail to get enough sleep each night, your body is unable to recover from the damage you’re causing it.


British researchers conducted a study on how sleep patterns and mortality were connected. The study looked at over 10,000 British civil servants for more than 20 years. In 2007, they published their results, which found that the people who slept less than seven hours a night doubled their chance of dying from any of the above causes. Therefore, the lack of sleep increased the chances of killing a person due to cardiovascular disease.

As you see, your body needs good quality sleep to function and live. While one night of insomnia isn’t detrimental, more than a night of not enough sleep can be damaging to your body. If you need help getting to sleep or staying asleep, seek the assistance of your doctor right away.


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