What Really Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

By Fiona Connor
25th May 2016

What Really Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

What happens in fight club, stays in fight club, right? That bad arse movie takes a lack of sleep to the extreme. While you may not be punching yourself or living in an imaginary world, if you’re not getting at least seven hours sleep a night, it’s only a matter of time before shit gets real.

We’ve investigated all the ways your body is rebelling against lack of sleep—just don’t let what we’re about to tell you set your mind whirling so fast you can’t sleep. That’s just counterproductive. Read, learn and then sleeeepppp.

You Put On Weight

Unless you’re okay with a few extra kilos, studies show that a lack of zzz’s mean you’ll start packing on the pounds. The metabolism slows down and hunger increases, which is a direct cause of gaining a little more cushion for the pushin’. When you’re tired, your body stops burning calories the way it normally does and chances are you’ll end up consuming extra calories to make up for the lack of energy. But it gets worse—you’ll be craving those high carb, high sugar nasties that won’t do your body any favours.

You Can Get Sick Easier

When you don’t get enough shut-eye during the night, your chances of getting sick increase. Researchers have found there is a direct relationship between the amount of sleep we get and our immune system, meaning your body finds it harder to fight illness and infection. So if you’re lacking sleep and feeling ill simultaneously, coincidence it is not!

You Look Bad

Getting your beauty sleep isn’t a myth. Don’t take it personally if your BFF attempts to organise a hunt to take down whoever made you look so miserable. Undeniably, if you aren’t getting in some decent snooze time, your face is showing it. Eyes look blood-shot, eyelids appear droopy and dark circles form beneath the eyes. Research shows that chronic inadequate or poor-quality sleep accelerates aging, which means fine lines and wrinkles—not ideal. Don’t waste these valuable hours—we’ve found beauty products that work while you sleep. Double score!

Your Memory Goes Downhill

Struggling to concentrate and remember what your boss just told you? Our friends at the lab say sleep is absolutely critical when trying to comprehend new things. You need a good night’s sleep to lock in new information and allow it to soak into your memory. Don’t be the person that everyone has to repeat things seven times before you remember—that’s just annoying.

You’re More Likely To Have An Accident

This one’s a no-brainer. Not getting enough sleep—even losing as little as an hour—means memory, reasoning, decision-making and problem solving all suffer. Drowsy drivers accounts for far too many crashes, injuries and fatalities each year because you are four to five times as likely to be involved in an car accident after fewer than five hours sleep.

You Get Moody

Feeling a bit moody? A bit snappy? Could a bad sleep be the answer? A bad night’s rest leads to minimal patience, a bad temper and a short attention span. You know where we’re going with this, right? Chances are your foul mood will lead to confrontation with others making you feel even worse. If you continue not sleeping, things get way worse when it leads to anxiety, mood disorders and depression.

You Can Get Even Sicker

It’s not just cold and flus that you should be worried about—recent studies have shown a lack of sleep can also lead to an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in men. It can also raise blood pressure and allow for pre-diabetic conditions to arise.

The moral of the story? Sleep isn’t selfish or indulgent, it’s a must-do part of your day…every day.

Photo credit: Bridget Jones' Diary

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