Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Remember pulling all-nighters during university? Remember how you felt when the caffeine wore off? Anybody who has gotten less than the standard 7-9 hours of sleep knows that it will probably leave you feeling more tired and cranky than normal.

However, sleep deprivation can affect you more than just making you a little grumpier in the morning.

There are long term effects of sleep deprivation that can put your mental and physical well-being at risk. From a weakened immunity to weight gain, sleep deprivation can cause a number of health problems.

As such, let’s talk about some of those long-term effects of sleep deprivation so we can learn how to combat them in the future.

Why You Need At Least 7 Hours of Sleep

Science has found that a lack of sleep can drastically transform your body in several ways. Sleep deprivation can also increase your risk of developing life-long diseases like obesity and diabetes.

That being said, it is important to understand why you have to get enough sleep every night. When you are asleep, your body is recuperating and preparing for the next day.

More specifically, as you sleep, your brain triggers your body to release certain compounds and hormones in your body that are essential for a number of bodily functions.

Specifically, these compounds and hormones help:

  • Lower your risk for lifelong health issues
  • Strengthen your immunity
  • Balance your hunger levels
  • Improve your memory
Can you imagine how a lack of sleep could easily knock your health off balance?

This is why you need to stick to the average of 7-8 hours. A 2010 article found that people who slept less than 5-7 hours were 12% more likely to suffer a premature death than those who slept the average hours.

On the other hand, those who slept over 9 hours had an even higher risk of premature death. As such, you have to prioritize your sleep as much as possible.

Weakens Your Immunity

One of the most important body systems that thrives off of a healthy amount of sleep is your immune system.

When you are asleep, your immune system is able to produce cytokines, which are protective compounds that protect your body against infections and viruses.

When you lose sleep, your body slowly loses its ability to defend itself against illnesses. Sleep deprivation can make it easy for you to contract illnesses and make it harder for you to recover.

Disrupts Your Nervous System

On a basic level, your nervous system is key to transferring information throughout your body. However, a lack of sleep can negatively impact how your brain processes information.

Your memory might not be as clear. You may even find yourself unable to learn new things or to concentrate.

In another way, sleep deprivation can even negatively affect your mental and emotional state. You will find that you are far more irritable and impatient.

You may experience mood swings. In worse cases, you might even experience hallucinations or develop depression and anxiety.

Unsettles Your Digestive System

A lack of sleep can increase your chances for weight gain and obesity. Specifically, while you sleep, the two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that control hunger and fullness are kept in balance.

When you lack sleep, there is an imbalance in the hormones, making you hungry in the middle of the night. This can easily result in late night snacking or overeating.

A lack of sleep also makes you feel too tired to exercise. So, as time goes on, you will gain weight instead of burning calories or building muscle mass.

Impacts Your Cardiovascular and Respiratory System

Lastly, a lack of sleep can affect the quality of your cardiovascular and respiratory system.

While you sleep, your body is able to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels balanced and healthy. Sleep is important for healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels.

Additionally, sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as the flu or cold. Moreover, a lack of sleep deprivation can worsen pre-existing respiratory issues.


With how busy and crazy our daily lives are, it is not a surprise that many of us suffer from sleep deprivation. Still, even though it is common, it does not mean it should be overlooked. Sleep deprivation can have many negative effects on our health.

If you find yourself experiencing sleep deprivation, talk to your doctor and find out ways you can conquer your sleeping schedule. If you have any questions, let us know!