The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Wyatt Hodge, MVC writer

Some people are at least familiar with a few of the symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as yawning, dozing off, or reduced focus. But not everybody knows the effects of extended sleep deprivation caused by going months without getting sufficient sleep during the night. 

There are various physical symptoms that can be manifested through sleep deprivation. Obesity is one of the symptoms observed to correlate with lack of sleep. Studies have observed that the less sleep someone is getting each night, the more obese they tend to be. This dangerous lack of sleep then branches into more health issues, such as cardiovascular ones.

 Extreme lack of sleep comes with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. It can also disrupt the body’s ability to process glucose, which can in turn worsen into type two diabetes. A lack of sleep can even reduce memory retention and immune system efficiency. 

There are also mental repercussions for sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased hypertension, meaning that stress is amplified. This is because the body regulates stress causing hormones during sleep, and, if left unchecked,the lack of regulation on the hormones can lead to increased blood pressure. This too can lead to increased cardiovascular issues within the body. 

Sleep deprivation is also linked to clinical depression and a general loss of motivation. Lack of sleep causes an increase in anxiety attacks, since all stressors are amplified in the sleep-deprived mind. It can often be hard to determine if sleep deprivation is causing depression and anxiety or if depression and anxiety are causing sleep deprivation. 

Losing a few hours of sleep one night might not seem like much, but losing sleep every night can lead to all of these serious issues. The recommended amount of sleep for ages thirteen through eighteen is eight to ten hours, but according to the average person gets less than seven hours of sleep. There are many reasons for this, but just a few include personal choice, having a sleeping disorder, school extracurriculars, work, illness, and taking care of children. 

In order to stay healthy, it is crucial that everyone gets the recommended amount of sleep every night. That is why it is important to raise awareness of the effects of sleep deprivation, so that people are aware of what they are risking when they decide to sacrifice their sleep.