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What happens when you cannot sleep?

When you cannot sleep for the required amount of time, it will cause several problems for you. It will result in many problems in different aspects of your life.

It reduces your brain's capacity

If you do not sleep for the required amount of time, it will make you dumber. Sleep is very crucial for thinking and learning. If you do not get enough sleep, it will hurt your cognitive processes in different ways. It will impair attention, alertness, concentration, problem solving and reasoning. Learning will be more difficult for you. You will also not be able to remember things that you have learned and experienced.

Serious health problems

Lack of sleep can result in different serious health problems including

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Ageing of skin

If you're not getting enough sleep, it will not only cause health problems but it will also result in ageing of your skin. Sallow skin and puffy eyes result because of lack of sleep. If you suffer from chronic sleep loss, it can result in lacklustre skin, fine lines and dark circles under the eyes.

When you do not sleep for the required amount of time, your body will produce more stress hormone cortisol and if it reaches a high level, it can break down skin collagen, which is the protein responsible for keeping your skin smooth and elastic. When you do not sleep enough, your body will also release too little human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is responsible for growth, muscle mass, thickening of skin and bone strength. During your sleep, HGH is released in your body and so if you are getting less sleep, it means less is yes will be released which will hamper your growth and will impact your skin negatively.

Depression and other mental problems

If you do not get the necessary sleep, it will result in depression. Lack of sleep and sleep disorders can easily cause depression in people. A scientific study found that there is a correlation between depression or anxiety and lack of sleep. Insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder, has the strongest link to depression. If you are suffering from insomnia (you can sleep), you are five times as likely to develop depression.

Reduction in sex drive

If you're not getting enough sleep, it will also inhibit your libido and you will have less interest in sex. Because of lack of sleep, you will have depleted energy, sleepiness and more tension which will eliminate your interest in sex. If you suffer from sleep apnea it also reduces your sex drive.

Gain weight

If you are not getting enough sleep, it can result in you gaining weight. If you sleep more, it can help you to lose more weight. When you sleep less, it increases hunger and appetite which can result in obesity. A study released in 2004 found that people who sleep less than six hours a day are 30% more likely to become obese in comparison to people who sleep for 7 to 9 hours.

More scientific studies have found the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. Ghrelin is a peptide that stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety and suppresses your appetite. If you sleep for less time, it increases ghrelin and reduces leptin in your body. Lack of sleep will also stimulate cravings for high fat, high carbohydrate foods, which will cause obesity and gaining of weight.

References

1. Sleeping Without Pills
2. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency
3. How Much Sleep Do I Need?