What are some effects of sleep deprivation?

Dr. Christopher E. Morgan, MD
Sleep Medicine Specialist

The scourge of sleep deprivation affects millions of Americans and causes a bevy of potential consequences. Not only that, if you are sleep deprived it could mean you are suffering from an unrecognized sleep disorder. The effects of sleep deprivation are cumulative. It affects mood, emotional health and physical health. Sleep-deprived people have a higher risk of cancer and heart disease; and, chronic sleep deprivation has shown increased chance of death. When sleep deprived, over-worked neurons cease coordinating information properly and the ability to access previously learned information is lost.

Dr. Michael Breus, PhD
Psychology Specialist

Watch as Dr. Michael Breus discusses some negative effects of sleep deprivation.

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night. And a mile-long to-do list makes getting a nightly eight hours of sleep a challenge. However, for more than 40 million people in the United States, their chronic lack of sleep is the result of a sleep disorder and poses bigger risks than dark circles under the eyes. If you're in this group of tossers and turners, you don't just feel tired and draggy. You may also suffer the effects of sleep deprivation, such as these:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness and impaired thinking
  • Traffic- or work-related accidents
  • Decreased productivity
  • Strained relationships
  • Weight gain

An ongoing lack of ZZZs can mess with your immune system and undermine your health, increasing your risk of obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and depression. You may even become old before your time: Researchers have found that chronic sleep deprivation speeds up aging.

Dr. Kathleen Hall
Preventive Medicine Specialist
Lack of sleep has profound effects on your mind, body, and soul. When you are sleep deprived you have more automobile and other accidents, your thinking is unclear, your memory is inexact, and your health is directly affected. Chronic sleep deprivation affects your immune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems.
A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness

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Ben Kaminsky
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

There is substantial evidence from numerous sleep studies indicating sleeping less has negative metabolic consequences and may be the cause of weight gain. Research indicates that losing sleep makes you crave high-calorie, high-carb foods, and disrupts your body’s ability to know it’s had enough. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.