While you may think that the only consequence to a night of poor sleep is that you will be yawning much more the next day, there is actually much more to it than this. From cognitive dysfunction to high blood pressure, here are just a few of the ways in which a night of bad sleep can affect your health.
Sleep is absolutely vital when it comes to your cognitive ability, which, in other words, means how fast and how well you can think. A night of bad sleep can affect cognitive processes in many different ways, impairing everything from attention and alertness to concentration and problem-solving. Sleep cycles also have an impact on memory consolidation, meaning that a night of poor sleep will lead you to have memory issues the next day.
Higher Risk of Serious Health Issues
While one night of poor sleep will not immediately lead to serious health issues, chronic sleep loss drastically increases your risk of many medical conditions. From high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes and strokes, these are just a few of the conditions that have been linked to sleep deprivation.
Depression and Anxiety
In addition to having an impact on your physical health, a lack of sleep will also affect your mental health. While one or two nights of poor sleep is not going to immediately cause depression, this is a condition that can soon occur after chronic sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that insomnia is often one of the first signs of depression, making good sleep absolutely necessary for a positive and healthy outlook on life.
Weakened Immune System
Your immune system works hard while you are asleep, producing infection-fighting cells and antibodies that battle bacteria and viruses, keeping your body healthy. If you experience a lack of sleep one night, this means that your immune system will not have had the opportunity to properly defend your body, meaning that not only are you more susceptible to foreign invaders, but it will also take you far longer to recover from any illness that takes you down. Even when it comes to the common cold, those that average less than seven hours of sleep at night will find themselves three times more likely to develop cold symptoms, and will also have a much harder time fighting these off.
Digestive System and Obesity
Studies carried out by the Harvard Medical School have shown connections between a lack of sleep and weight gain, making sleep deprivation one of the primary causes of obesity. A night of poor sleep will raise the levels of ghrelin in your body, which is a biochemical that stimulates the appetite. Sleep deprivation also triggers the body to release higher levels of insulin after eating, which not only promotes fat storage within the body, but can also quickly lead to diabetes.
Quality sleep is absolutely essential when it comes to a healthy mind and body, and a night of poor sleep can really have some adverse reactions. From a weakened immune system to rapid weight gain, make sure that these issues do not affect you by ensuring that you are receiving enough sleep each and every night.