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7 Things That Happen When You’re Sleep Deprived

Although you certainly don’t need to explain it to any new parent, true sleep deprivation occurs when a person is not able to get enough sleep. While the amount of sleep needed to function and feel refreshed depends on the individual and ranging factors such as pregnancy, sleep quality and age, according to Mayo Clinic, it is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours a night. Unfortunately, over a third of adults don’t get that much according to the American Thoracic Society, who says 35 percent of adults in the US report sleeping less than 7 hours during a 24-hour day.

There are many causes of sleep deprivation such as circadian rhythm disturbance (i.e. jet lag), late nights at work, prescription medications, sleep disorders and simply poor sleeping habits. But regardless of the reason, this can have a huge impact on overall well-being and health. Reducing your sleep time by even just one hour can affect your thought process and lead to chronic fatigue, which can negatively affect work and daily life. Read on below for the most common sleep deprivation side effects and ways you can improve your sleep habits so you can keep your health on track.

Impaired memory 

We’ve all heard the age-old adage “sleep on it,” but there’s more to the phrase than you may have originally thought. When you learn something new, the best way to remember it is to sleep. Sleeping helps strengthen memories you’ve formed and even link new memories to old ones, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, when you don’t get enough sleep, that could lead to trouble remembering things since the brain doesn’t have enough time to process new information you’ve recently learned. This in turn could result in difficulty learning.

Lack of alertness 

As mentioned previously, sleep plays a huge role in thinking and learning. Without a sufficient amount of sleep at night, your ability to concentrate, think and process decreases. The Sleep Foundation even states that a lack of sleep has also been found to induce effects that are similar to being drunk, which slows down thinking and reaction time. If you find that you’re having trouble focusing throughout the day due to lack of sleep, Nature Made offers Extended Release Melatonin tablets that help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer and Sleep and Recover Gummies that help to relax the body and mind so you can fall asleep faster the natural way.

Weakened immunity 

Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Sleep deprivation can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. Why is that? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection and sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

Mood changes

We’ve all been there at some point — a sleepless night followed by a day of irritability and stress. Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that people who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week felt more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. And when they returned to a normal sleep schedule, their mood improved drastically. If you find yourself stressed or suffering from anxiety and have trouble shutting your brain off before bed, Nature Made has a helpful sleep quiz, which can point you toward the right product aimed to help you sleep.

Weight gain 

It’s possible that a lack of sleep can have negative changes in metabolism. In adults, sleeping four hours a night, compared with 10 hours a night, appears to increase hunger and appetite — in particular for calorie-dense foods high in carbohydrates, according to Mayo Clinic. Studies also show there is a link between sleep deprivation and obesity. One explanation might be that when you’re not sleeping, you could potentially be spending that time doing some late-night snacking. Another explanation could be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.

Low sex drive 

Sleep deprivation has been associated with reduced sexual desire and arousal in women. As a result, insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders, may be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction. Sleep deprivation can also hinder sexual desire and arousal due to its impact on mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Risk of developing health conditions 

Sleep allows you to restore and recharge your mind and of course, your body. For the cardiovascular system, insufficient or fragmented sleep can heighten the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. It can also contribute to problems with blood pressure seeing as during normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down and having sleep problems means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time. In addition, some studies also show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control, according to the CDC.

This article was created by SheKnows for Nature Made. 

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