Shocking Sleep Deprivation Effects You Need to Know

- | 58 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Health & Wellness

man suffers from sleep deprivation effects

Do you know about the sleep deprivation effects on your body and mind?

I, for instance, didn’t know until circumstances gave me first-hand experience of the impact of lack of sleep, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say – it was not good!

However, even after having the ‘not good’ feeling, we don’t stop from living an unhealthy lifestyle that most of the time keeps us in the sleep-deprivation mode.

I recently happened to research about the topic of sleep and came across some shocking information about the effects of sleep deprivation.

Believe me, they’re worse than I expected! Honestly, I never took it so seriously ever before.

I knew there are sleep deprivation effects like feeling tired the other day, and having reduced work efficiency. But there seems to be more than meets the eye.

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” ~ Irish Proverb

You need to read my earlier post on why do we sleep, as this post is its continuation with an attempt to create awareness about the shocking sleep deprivation effects that might harm you.

What is Sleep Deprivation

It is the condition of being deprived of sleep or not having enough sleep. Usually it is the cumulative deficiency of sleep over a period of time.

Everything is alright until the sleep deprivation effects emerge in the form of physical and psychiatric symptoms. Sleep deprivation also affects your emotional behavior and social relations.

Sleeping is a basic requirement and necessity of all human beings and its deprivation can even risk causing death. In fact, sleep deprivation is also used as a form of torture – did you know that? I didn’t!

Sleep deprivation is bad for you, especially if you are writers and bloggers, or people who work late at night. I can see you nodding your head right now!

How many of you sleep late at night or sleep less? I’m sure most of you are guilty there – aren’t you?

You try to sacrifice your sleep time and compensate it to do your work. You believe you’re making better use of the time. But are you really doing that?

Well, well. That’s where you go wrong.

Sleeping is no waste of time. However, being practical about your busy and not-so perfect world, it’s okay occasionally to work overtime and sacrifice a part of your sleep.

I know a lot of bloggers who prefer working late at night, instead of the mornings. That’s because they have a full time job to take care of the in the morning, so find time for blogging only at night.

Or because they prefer the quiet and undisturbed atmosphere at night, that gets their creative juices flowing. I was once like that, but that was a long time ago.

But it becomes a matter of concern if such a practice turns out to be a daily affair or habit. It is then that you face the ugly music of the sleep deprivation effects.

“The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can’t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.” ~ Edgar Watson Howe

girl yawning due to lack of sleep

Sleep Deprivation Effects That You Don’t Want

Do you know what could happen if you are deprived of sleep? Well, here’s a brief list of things that happen when you sleep less, or don’t sleep for the required number of hours, which you’d like to avoid.

1. You look ugly

Try this out – compare a photograph of your face when you’re fresh after a good sleep for a few days with the one when you slept less for a few days.

Honestly, tell me what did you notice?

You can make out from the faces of people who are deprived of sleep. They have sore eyes, saggy cheeks, lifeless expression, and dark circles under the eyes.

Not only that, even their skin loses its beauty and sheen. In fact, scientists have researched to prove that sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process too.

Do you know that sleep restriction increases the stress hormones, or the cortisol levels in the body? This hormone breaks the protein collagen, which helps keep the skin elastic and smooth.

If you want to keep looking beautiful, fresh, and young – have your full quota of sleep, daily.

2. You underperform

Lack of sleep makes you feel exhausted.

If you don’t sleep for a night, or a few nights, you experience the fatigue that’s similar to the one you experience after driving continuously for many hours!

You’re no longer alert, and easily get distracted from whatever you’re doing. Apart from your ability to concentrate, sleep deprivation also adversely affects your cognitive abilities.

In such a situation, you don’t feel like doing anything, and even if you do, you’re not able to put in your heart and mind completely. This reduces your efficiency and productivity a great deal.

You’re left with the minimized ability to do mechanical or routine jobs, and your abstract thinking and creative ability goes for a six.

The only way out is to avoid these sleep deprivation effects.

3. You lose your mind

Of course, not literally, but you experience quite seemingly a similar state of mind. You become confused, disoriented, drowsy, and hallucinated.

You seem to hear and see things, which aren’t there. You get a lightheaded feeling and the world seems to go round.

You find difficulty in concentrating and focusing on a job, and you’re not able to make decisions as you used to. You seem to forget more and suffer from poor memory.

Your subdued mind causes unreasonable changes to your mood. You also become easily frustrated, and even your temper rises rather quickly.

You literally live on the edge, because your mind isn’t stable and you cannot relax. Not to mention that since your anxiety levels remain high, your personal and professional matters tend to suffer.

Your stress threshold level lowers down, and even doing regular and routine tasks seem to overwhelm you.

Remember, if you’re working at an important project – then make it a point to have a good night’s sleep, for it will only do you good in the long run.

4. You risk your life

I don’t know if you’ve heard of such incidents, but I’ve seen and heard about road accidents that happen just because the driver dozed off due to lack of sleep – this is real serious.

One of the most dreaded sleep deprivation effects is excessive daytime sleeplessness, and the major cause of traffic accidents.

In fact, your state after long hours of waking up by avoiding sleep is quite like being under the effect of alcohol.

Slurred voice, drooping eyelids, shaky hands, and uncontrolled reflexive movements are some of the symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol that are similar to a person who is deprived of sleep.

So, as you’re advised not to mix drink and drive, and not drive when drunk, the same applies in the case of lack of sleep.

Never attempt any job that needs you to be alert when you’re under any of the sleep deprivation effects.

The effects of sleep deprivation are not only limited to automotive injuries, but also occupational injuries.

Many accidents happen in factories, mills, and other work places when the workers work continuously avoiding sleep.

If you wish for your safety and long life, make sure you sleep well before you go to work.

5. You develop lifestyle diseases

The sedentary lifestyle invites many diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Chronic sleep deprivation also increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and of course other stress related disorders.

In addition, your immune system too weakens, inviting hordes of harmful organism and diseases to attack your body and infect you.

Keep away from all such lifestyle diseases by sleeping enough. The choice is always in your hands.

6. You become obese

There have been many recent popular researches that point out that sleep deprivation puts you at a greater risk of becoming obese.

Studies suggest that the fat cells in sleep deprived people are less sensitive to insulin, which is a hormone that controls blood sugar.

It’s to be noted that insulin insensitivity is linked to both, diabetes and obesity.

Another theory for weight gain is that sleep deprivation causes less efficient burning of calories, and there is unfavorable variation in eating and exercise habits due to the resulting fatigue.

It has also been found that those who don’t sleep enough tend to eat more calories, which accumulates with time.

Besides this, sleep deprivation cause imbalance of hormones that suppress and stimulate appetite, which eventually leads to increase in food cravings.

So, if you want to stay fit and healthy, and live an ideal lifestyle then check out if you’re really sleeping well.

7. Your sex drive lessens

The sleep deprivation effects are not only related to the professional arena but it even touches the very private aspects of your life.

Your miserable state due to lack of sleep could even cause interpersonal conflicts and other significant problems in a relationship.

This also happens because you’re obsessed with and possessed by work. When you’re engrossed with work all the time – where do you get the time and energy for personal intimacy?

Due to work pressure and anxiety, your adrenaline levels drop while the stress hormone cortisol levels rise up. All the factors combined make you lose interest in sex.

Research even suggests that men with sleep apnea have low testosterone levels, and thus lower libido.

If you want to keep your passions and desires alive, then consider fulfilling your quota of required sleep daily.

8. Your quality of life suffers

Your sullen look, poor performance at work, and an unstable state of mind hit on your self-esteem.

Lack of self-worth, coupled with feelings and thoughts of negativity, makes one’s life miserable. The sleep deprivation effects often fill your life with depression.

Even your growth retards or slows down, as the body releases less growth hormone when you sleep less.

You might miss on life’s wonderful moments by rushing through your life. You might not able to participate in social and family activities, which may rob you of your moments of happiness.

In other words, you no longer have the quality of life you always wanted.

girl deprived of sleep

It happened with me once, and I trashed an already published post when I was supposed to update it!

Why – because I hadn’t been sleeping enough for a few nights. All thanks to these sleep deprivation effects that got the better of me.

I confess that I too once practiced such a lifestyle, but an understanding of my body system and its working helped me learn the importance of sleep, which you too can know if you read my earlier post on sleep.

“Sleep is the chain that ties health and our bodies together.” ~ Griff Niblack

So, I hope none of you’re going to be sluggish, groggy, and compromise on your sleep. A solid night’s sleep every day is one of your basic components for a healthy and happy life.

You need to remember that your body and mind are tuned to a specific number of hours of sleep, which can be different for different people.

If you feel that you don’t get enough waking hours to attend to your household chores and office work, then try to plan things ahead in time, and learn the tips for better time management.

Now, stop yawning in front of the computer – this post is not boring, but it’s you who needs some sleep!

Promise me that you WILL take care to sleep early, so that you have the required hours of sleep your body needs. Here’s my little wish for you 🙂

“May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry, reminding you to consider only this moment.” ~ Jeb Dickerson

Over to You –

Have you ever experienced sleep deprivation? What sleep deprivation effects would you add to this post? What resolution do you make hereafter? Share in the comments below.


Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos, 123RF Stock Photos



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58 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Rachit Aggarwal

    2013-11-21 at 12:56 pm

    This is such a common problem that everybody know but hardly anyone do anything about it till it get worsened. The effects of sleep deprivation are very well shared and even i have experienced those.

    I would like add another dimension here. 6 hours of sleep at night, preferably early i.e. 11-5, is far far better and refreshing than 10 hours sleep during day time. I have experienced this during the time i used to do the night shifts and believe me, i became very obese.

  2. Guy Martin

    2013-09-20 at 1:35 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Thoroughly enjoyed your article.

    I’ve struggled throughout the years to sleep regularly.

    I’ve a day job that’s not only during the day but also at night sometimes so I’ve not developed a consistency of going to bed at a regular time.

    Your research was quite good and I’ve known about some of these effects and it’s why I’ve made it more of a requirement for me to go bed by 10pm.

    Thanks again for the valuable insight.


  3. Malika Bourne

    2013-09-18 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks Harleena. You covered this suggest very well. I know, as I have spent years with sleep deprivation for a number of reasons.
    1.I worked graveyard shifts
    2. I have sleep apnea.
    3.I had very poor sleep “hygiene”.
    4.I had babies.

    When I an fairly well rested I do not get sick, but after months of sleep deprivation I will get so sick that I can not function.
    It is 1 am. why am I up? My legs and back are spasming. I have to get up and move around.Fortunately, I am able to take naps as I need to now.

  4. Sumanth

    2013-09-02 at 10:00 am

    Oh my God! really these many effects. I really need to sleep now. Thanks for this article harleena and making me realize about the effects. OK time to sleep for me. Have’ne slept for two days. Bye Thanks again.

  5. Richard

    2013-07-25 at 11:33 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    Thanks for doing this research. You are amazing and I totally agree with what you have found out. I am guilty of not getting enough rest. I find it hard to fall asleep at times. I know now that there are some effects of this that I never knew existed. Thanks again

  6. Joe Hart

    2013-06-22 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Harleena,
    You’ve discussed a genuine issue here.A lot of late night accidents occur due to sleep deprivation. Insomnia is a different story but pushing the body to an extent to which the basic functioning haults is definitely scary.

  7. Shan Naqvi

    2013-06-12 at 11:42 am

    Hello Harleena,

    As we already know that you always discuss excellent stuff for us, so thanks for discussing this kind of things with us – secondly, I am completely believe the fact with your factors as I am the one of those who don’t sleep enough so I have observe that I am looking unpleasant and sluggish.. Because of this, I went to a doctor and mentioned with her about my issues such as sensation exhausted etc! Surprising factor is, She did also advise me to sleep enough in night 🙂

  8. koyel

    2013-06-12 at 11:22 am

    Now i have got another reason to sleep late on Sundays! Jokes apart, lack of sleep affects us very badly. I have seen that after sleeping less, i feel exhausted and simply do not feel like working hard. On the other hand, when i sleep well i am full of energy to take on my hectic routine. Thanks for this post.

  9. Suzie Carr

    2013-06-06 at 3:42 pm

    “You look ugly.” This subhead gave me a chuckle! haha
    I’m a stickler for getting my sleep. I rise at 2:30 am to get in my writing before heading out to my day job, so that means I’m in bed dozing by 6:30 pm. People laugh and shake their heads at this, but it’s imperative. The cycle works for me. I hear people say they survive on 5 hours a night. I don’t want to just survive. I want to thrive. So, 6:30 pm is pillow time for this novelist:)

  10. Amritorupa Kanjilal

    2013-06-06 at 9:41 am

    Very true Harleena, these days I’m sleeping less and less every day because of office pressure added to blogging commitments, and I can really tell the toll it is taking on my body.Loved your blog!

  11. Evan

    2013-06-05 at 6:58 pm

    Right, it is time to change our points of view about sleep. I’m the one of the chronically tired and i view sleep as a waste of precious time.. No. Have to stop it right now. Thanks for a clue!

  12. Viola Tam

    2013-06-05 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    You must have put in a lot of efforts in coming up with so many negative points about sleep deprivation!

    The one about risking our lives is so true! I remember when my kids were young, I experienced the ‘micro-sleep’ whilst driving! For a very brief moment, I was sleeping whilst driving! Luckily, I only had my car ‘drifted’ to the kerb. Other people may not be as lucky as I was!

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Harleena.

    Viola Tam – The Business Mum

  13. Sally Brown

    2013-06-04 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Leena,

    This is a great article. As an RN, I was aware of just about all of these and how they affect your health. The torture one just because I watch too many movies! LOL

    After going through cancer treatment, I’ve required more sleep. I know when I’m sleep deprived I don’t operate in any area well. I try to listen to my body and get sleep when I need it. Falling to sleep has always been difficult for me, and a continuous battle. I’ve been known to be up for over 35+ hours and then sleep for 12 hrs. No rhyme or reason to it.

    I try to just listen to my body. If laying in bed rolling and tossing too long, I might as well get up and wait till I’m tired. There are times I’m up too long and go past that tired phase into a productive phase without any sleep. Trying to get back on track is important.

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. Sally

  14. Sue Neal

    2013-06-04 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I went through a period of quite severe sleep deprivation when I was working and staying online until very late at night, but still getting up early in the mornings for work – I felt absolutely dreadful and almost fell asleep behind the wheel at times.

    I think a lot of people struggling to make money online feel under tremendous pressure to cut down on their sleep, but this is at great risk to their health, as you’ve so clearly pointed out in this post.

    I can’t think of anything to add to the comprehensive list of risks and symptoms you’ve described here – I only know I’ve been there, done that and now make sure I get a good night’s sleep. If that means some stuff doesn’t get done – too bad!

    Thanks for raising another important issue, Harleena – I hope people who are depriving themselves of sleep sit up and take notice.

    Hope you’re having a great week,


  15. Oscar

    2013-06-04 at 10:08 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I never knew not having enough sleep could cause Diabetes, and also make someone obese. I’ve been depriving myself of sleep most times just because of my work and blog schedule, but your post came in right on time. I will try my best to reschedule my activities in order not to deprive myself of sleep. For the fact that it gets people ugly, I quite agree to that as I have noticed that people who have sleep look more plumpy and fresh.
    Thanks anyway for this blog post, you are doing great.

  16. Leon

    2013-06-04 at 9:54 am

    I might not have any issues with getting obese with how skinny I am lol. However, I do need better sleeping habits. Some nights I sleep 2-3 hours. 🙁

  17. Ankit

    2013-06-04 at 8:04 am

    Each and every line of the above article is true. I totally agree with the deprivation facts.

  18. Debopam Banerjee

    2013-06-04 at 7:21 am

    Adequate sleep makes a lot of differences…. Whenever I sleep well I feel so energetic and refreshed with lots of energy of doing something good…. Thanks for this nice share…..

  19. sherman smith

    2013-06-04 at 6:24 am

    Hey Harleena,

    The title of the post really attracted me. And as I was really, I did feel like you were talking directly to me LOL.

    Yes I deprive myself of sleep a lot and I can definitely related to the effects of sleep deprivation. I use to get sick a lot. The reason being was that I started taking salsa classes and started going to the clubs and got hooked. I got so hooked, that I would go to the club, come home around 1 or 2pm knowing I have to get up a couple of hours later to go to work.

    Not Good!

    As a result, I got sick a lot! And I mean a lot! Plus I started putting on some weight too. Even though I was salsa dancing a lot. So yes, I make an effort to get enough sleep, although it can be hard for me at times, but health is more important. Thanks for the info.!

  20. Donna Merrill

    2013-06-04 at 5:29 am

    Great post Harleena!

    Too many people don’t know how dangerous sleep deprivation really is! I knew some of it, but after being glued to this post, it was really jaw-dropping. The effects are astounding.

    I did have a bout with it once. I was staying up late writing, and wasn’t going to bed until 3 am – then waking up late in the day. I was topsy-turvy all day long.

    When I got to bed I was over tired and had trouble falling asleep. I talked it over with a health professional friend of mine. She gave me a great idea and I did put it into action. I started going to bed one hour earlier for one week. Then the next week doing it another hour earlier. All the while, setting my alarm for 9 am instead of waking at 11 or 12.

    By the fourth week, I’m in bed at no later than 11:30 p.m. and I’m up at 8:30 a m. Yes, I do see the difference in my face! I’m happier also and feel more energetic.

    Thanks for a great post!


  21. Adrienne

    2013-06-04 at 3:18 am

    Although I’ve had my moments Harleena, sleep is something I’m very good at. I usually never have an issue getting a good night’s sleep.

    I inherited a lot of stuff from my Dad so sleeping is one of them. If I don’t get a good 8 hours of sleep every night then I make myself sick. It starts with flu like symptoms and then next thing you know I’m sick for three days.

    I seriously can’t function when I’m tired. I’ll just go to bed earlier that night if that’s the case but I have to have a good night’s sleep or I’m worthless. I wish I was a napper but I just can’t take naps. I’ve never been able to to do it.

    I know it can be really bad for you if you don’t get enough sleep but luckily for me, I’ll never have this issue.

    Hope you’re having fun!


  22. Vijesh

    2013-06-03 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Recently I have written an article on Tips for nocturnal bloggers. I have mentioned the need for sleep and also how to be cautious with our health as we work in the nights. If at all you have written this post earlier I would have linked it but I still like to link it in my article as it has great information on the disadvantages of not sleeping.

    I also observed personally that at times I am more productive when I sleep well and when I sleep late in the night of about 2 A.M I see the effects the next morning as the day would be too gloomy for me to start or do any work.

    Lack of sleep causes us to become obese and also prone to have diabetic affect is very bad as it would be very difficult to maintain our food habits once we get affected to diabetics. same in the case of growing fat it is easy to grow obese but very hard to become slim.

    So early to bed and early to rise makes us healthy wealthy and happy. I should stop planning the night schedules and shift to morning schedules and reserve my night hours for sleeping well whatever it costs.

    Thanks for the needful information Harleena.

  23. Sylviane Nuccio

    2013-06-03 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Well, I happened to know a lot about the effects of sleep deprivation because my mother being an avid reader and knowing a lot of things used to tell us about this as we were children.

    The good thing about my body is that I can’t do two things for very long at all; it’s stop eating and stop sleeping. If I do, my body reacts quickly and rather strongly, so I don’t even try to mess with it that way at all.

    Just a couple of days going to bed too late and having to wake up too early will do me in, so in a way that’s a good prevention for me.

    Thanks for this great post full of great information.

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Shocking Sleep Deprivation Effects You Need to Know

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