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Health Benefits of Sleep and Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Updated on October 3, 2018

Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Disease associated with sleep deprivation: Alzheimer's, Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Prostate Cancer and Ulcerative Colitis
Disease associated with sleep deprivation: Alzheimer's, Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Prostate Cancer and Ulcerative Colitis | Source

The Most Common Diseases Associated with Sleep Deprivation

  • Alzheimer's
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Ulcerative Colitis

How much sleep do we need?


Why do we need sleep to survive?

Sleeping is a crucial part of our 24 hour life. The lack of sleep can cause a variety of issues, it can definitely hinder our health and even shorten our longevity. It is important to make sleep a part of our everyday health program.

Sleep Deprivation and Academic Performance

A study in children with sleeping disorders found them to struggle with attention, focus and learning. This was especially true in children with sleep apnea, snoring and other relevant disorders. In other relevant studies, college aged students with poor routines and sleep patterns had lower grades than their fellow college mates.

Sleep Deprivation Hinders the Ability to Read Facial Expressions

A new study has found that lack of sleep can negatively affect how you perceive others and can therefore hinder judgement and awareness.

Sleep and Car Accidents

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported, being tired, more than alcohol, caused the highest number of fatal single car accidents.

Sleep and Mental Clarity

Several studies have confirmed that a severe lack of sleep provokes the same reactions and stupor as one who is drunk. Conclusions show driving reactions and eye hand coordination are impaired with lack of sleep. Furthermore, many of the study participants were unaware of their own poor judgement during the study. In other words, their own clarity and perspective of their own awareness was clouded.

In another study, students with a healthy sleep pattern had higher scores than those who lacked sleep.

Sleep and Athletic Performance: Stamina

A research study by, Stanford University, found improved performance and endurance in athletes that completed several weeks of regular sleep patterns. Most of the athletes recorded about 10 hours of sleep per day.

Blood Pressure

It is believed sleeping between 7 to 8 hours may help improve blood pressure readings. It has also been found that those that sleep less than 6 hours per night have a tendency to have higher blood pressure or run the risk of becoming hypertensive.

Why? It is understood the body generally recovers during the sleep cycle. During this time it also regulates stress hormones. This in turn helps your nervous system to function properly. The nervous system affects how our body functions and reacts to various stressors.

Sleep: Children and Adults

Adults and children react differently to lack of sleep:

  • Adults usually become lethargic and sleepy.
  • Children tend to become hyperactive, impulsive and somewhat rebellious.


Short sleep durations have been connected with the increase of bad cholesterol levels.

Colds and Flu

Lack of sleep can increase your risk of catching a cold or the flu. Lack of sleep causes you to be tired and stressed. These factors lower your immune system.

Interesting fact: Vaccines work quicker and more effectively in a rested body.

Sleep can Improve Creativity

Sleep improves the creative process. Recent studies are learning how the brain becomes very active during certain phases of sleep. This activity during sleep seems to encourage creativity and clarity when problem solving and/or brainstorming. Study groups showed greater problem solving outcomes in the sleep group than in the deprived group. Plus, memory is improved. An improved memory can allow past experiences to spur ideas with the inception of new knowledge.


There is definitely a connection between depression and sleep, the connection is complex though, and is a vicious cycle. Insomnia can be a symptom of depression. This sleep deprivation caused by insomnia can further complicate existing symptoms of depression. Also, those that suffer from insomnia are at higher risk of developing depression. In addition, sleep can reduce anxiety and can improve stability during the day. Plus, balance is very important in defeating depression. Sufferers should seek professional help, improve their diets and establish a healthy sleep routine.

Studies are evaluating the connection between sleep, melatonin, serotonin and how it might influence depression.


Did you know that a sleep deprived body provokes a reaction similar to insulin resistance? A sleep study induced a sleep deprived scenario. The participants were reduced their sleep time by a minimum of 5 hours for six consecutive days. At the end of only six days, the participants displayed impaired glucose levels. Impaired glucose levels are a known precursor to diabetes.

Heart Disease

Have you ever heard of inflammatory response? A sleep deprived body has an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system. This response increases the factors and risks associated with stroke, heart attack and even diabetes.

Sleep can possibly control inflammation

By now, it is obvious to see many illnesses and disease can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia. In addition, these illnesses can provoke inflammation in the body. In fact, research found people who get less sleep, six or less hours a night, have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep well through the night.

Longevity: Sleep and Living Longer

Sleep is when our bodies recover and cleanse themselves of the previous day's events. Cells are renewed and we are to wake up refreshed. If we disturb a healthy sleep pattern we can induce a variety of problems and increase our risk of illness. These illnesses can provoke diseases that shorten our lives. Also, one study even referred to sleep deprivation as mimicking aging. Not good.

In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night

Instead, get a good night's sleep and try to follow a healthy sleep pattern that you can stick to. Your life may depend on it.


There is quite a bit of research on how memory is affected by sleep. Researches are trying to narrow down the effects of sleep with regard to recent memory and long term memory. Regardless, most studies have confirmed improved memory skills in groups which attained quality amounts of sleep: this is to say, it is better to learn and perform something after sleeping,


In one particular study, patients that slept 5 hours a night had a 73% chance of becoming obese. This was compared to a secondary group which attained 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep greatly improves your chances of reaching your diet and workout goals. You might think a pound lost is a pound lost, but in one interesting study, researchers found those who had better sleeping patterns lost more fat than those who didn't. Participants with sleep deprivation did lose weight but lost more lean muscle as opposed to fat.

Sleep reduces stress and its effects

Stress causes many mental and physical problems and can greatly affect cardiovascular health. A regular sleep schedule, which includes 7 - 9 hours of sleep can improve stress levels and reduce subsequent health issues.

Dr. Oz's Sleep Advice for Jennifer Anniston

The health benefits of sleep can affect your memory, cardiovascular health, cognition and even longevity. Describes and lists  a variety of benefits to getting a good night's rest.
The health benefits of sleep can affect your memory, cardiovascular health, cognition and even longevity. Describes and lists a variety of benefits to getting a good night's rest. | Source

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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    • breathing profile image


      3 years ago from Bangladesh

      There is hardly anyone in this world who doesn’t love to sleep for a long time any phase of life. But in the modern hectic scheduled life most of us are deprived of proper sleep. This leads us to many diseases which the hub author has discussed here. The sleeping chart is another thing that has made this hub a great and useful one. So we should look at this hub at least for once and fix our schedule in such a way that we get the desired amount of sleep. This will help us to lead a good, sound and healthy life in long term.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Kristen Howe, thank you very much. I hope you are getting plenty of shut eye - thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub Marissa. It's so useful and informative to know about the dangers of not getting enough sleep.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Hi Charito1962, thank you for reading and commenting. I'm sorry to hear about your heart ailment. I'm glad you try to get in 8 hrs every time you sleep though. Our health depends on it.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks for this informative hub, Marisa!

      I must admit I also have poor sleeping patterns which have now caused me a heart ailment. There are times when I stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing a piece. Other times, I'm so sleepy that I'm in bed as early as 9:30.

      During the day - since I come from a warm country - I take a short nap (about 15 minutes).

      I just make it a point to get 8 hours of sleep, no matter what time I get to bed.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Hezekiah, it sure makes one wish we had a magic time machine. There are so many things we want to do in a day and we just can't seem to fit everything in. I'm trying to be more diligent with getting enough sleep, not always easy.

      Robin Benve, LOL!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Couldn't agree more! My family knows very well that if I don't get my 7-8 hrs of sleep they better stay away from me... lol

    • Hezekiah profile image


      5 years ago from Japan

      Thanks for the hub, I never realized it could be so serious. With work,gym and family there just arnt enough hours in the day.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Hackslap, I totally hear you, it is scary. I tend to get up in the middle of the night and I have a bad habit of keeping my iPad on my nightstand - a total snooze breaker. Realistically, we should get 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night.

      Thank you for reading and commenting - be well.

    • Hackslap profile image


      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I tend to get just 3 to 4 hours sleep each night .. 6 if im lucky .. its the pressures of my job ... this hub scares me a bit :(

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      5 years ago from Texas

      erinshelby, isn't it though? I worry about my mom getting enough sleep, she is such an early bird and she seems to be getting up earlier and earlier. On the other hand, she is taking more naps though. I wish I could nap.

      rcorcutt, I DEFINITELY need more sleep these days.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hmmm... I think I need to sleep more.

    • erinshelby profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Sleep is so important and adults often forget that they need it too! Good reminders!

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      6 years ago from Texas

      ChristyWrites, thank you for the votes and sharing. 7 - 8 hours of sleep sounds great, I wish I could get myself into a better pattern of sleep. The health benefits of sleep have certainly inspired me to try.

      Stephanie Henkel, thank you! I truly appreciate you sharing this with your followers and thanks again for your votes. Glad to see you.

      Lastheart, I hope you have been able to find a better sleep routine. Thank you for stopping by.

      Vinaya Ghimire, awww, thank you so much. I hope you are having a wonderful 2013.

      Annamie Cureteyz, you are so right, thank you for sharing your insight.

      Diabian, thank you for your comment votes and shares.

      mary615, I am so pleased to hear this is not an issue for you and that you are blessed with good health. I bet that power nap makes a world of difference. Glad to see you and thanks for the votes and shares.

      ignugent17 , thank you! Glad you liked it.

      mperrottet , thank you for including the link to your hub, I'll be sure to give it a read and include it here.

      dwachira, I wish I had the opportunity to sneak in an afternoon nap. Sleep is definitely vital to our good health, thanks for the votes.

      tillsontitan, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to sleep for two days straight. Thank you for your words (and votes) of support. Wishing you the best here, beyond and with your health.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I am well aware of the benefits of sleep and you have stated them well. I have Meniere's Disease and if I don't get enough sleep my Meniere's takes over and I wind up sleeping for two days straight!

      Great job as always.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • dwachira profile image

      Danson Wachira 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi missolive,

      Sleep is the best way i have found for mind and body relaxation, i sleep at every opportunity but mostly i enjoy the afternoon sleep. I didn't know sleeping has all the benefits as you have outlined up there, thanks for sharing this info. Voted up and useful.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Excellent article on the benefits of sleep. I'm glad that scientists are doing more research on sleep. They seem to be finding out more and more how important it is to our health. I've added a link to this from my hub "The Science Behind Why We Sleep - Adenosine and Melatonin". Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great information. Sleeping is really important. Thanks it is really good to read. :-)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I am blessed with NO sleeping problems. I fall asleep very quickly and sleep soundly all night. I probably don't get enough sleep, because I wake up after six hours and ready to go! I am blessed with good health.

      I do take a 30 min. "power nap" every day.

      Very good info here. I voted this UP, and will share.

    • Diabian profile image


      6 years ago

      I can say for all you that the sleep is very important for human from my experience , before i was have some problems on sleeping .

      Rated useful and shared this hub with friends

    • profile image

      Annamie Cureteyz 

      6 years ago

      Yes, I so agree with your post. Of course, sleep is indeed important and that if we lack sleep, surely our immune system will crash down and our body will definitely suffer.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal


      You are a great teacher!

      It is 2 AM in Kathmandu, I need a sleep now.

      Happy New Year!

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 

      6 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Very good article...I wish I learn how to sleep.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      Great article on the benefits of sleep! It's so easy to let sleep fall way down on our priority list, but it seems that we hurt ourselves in many ways by doing so. Voted up and sharing with followers and some sleep deprived people I know! :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Voting up and useful, as well as sharing with my followers. I try to get 7 to 8 hours a night and find that I am well rested then. Great information~!

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      6 years ago from Texas

      cclitgirl, oh how I wish I could get in 8-9 hours...the envy! I'm closer to 6-7 during the work week. I too am more creative with a healthy dose of sleep. Sure helps prove the research. Thank you for stopping by to read and share. Oh, and sweet dreams.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      I love my sleep! I do try to get my 8 hours...sometimes 9. I know I'm a bit of an exception, but I am more creative and much happier when I've had plenty of sleep. :)

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      L.L. Woodard, lack of sleep can really affect our immunity. Please take care of yourself as the cold season is now upon us. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment.

      penlady, yes it is so important for us to catch the right amount of zzz's. I drag along myself when I don't get enough sleep. Thanks so much for the read and votes.

      SarahWalton, you are so right. Rush, rush, rush and then we don't sleep. I try to get in at least 7 hours...not always easy though.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      We are passing our life in a modern age. In modern age life is so fast and so busy. We can not lead our life without work. But After work we need some rest otherwise our body can not stand still. So after a long time working we should take some rest. And rest should be in sleep. So for better health sleep is the most important for our good health. At least 7 ours deep sleep should be added in our every day life.

    • penlady profile image


      7 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      Sleep is so important. I got a good night's rest last night and feel like a new person. Otherwise I'm up late and dragging throughout the day.

      So I know without doubt you've got to let your body rest in order for it to perform right.

      Voted up and useful.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I know from experience that too little sleep causes problems with my immune system; I've had the colds and other goodies to prove it to myself.

      Useful information for all of us who try to cheat the clock by sleeping too little.

      Voted up and Shared.


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