Published on June 30, 2021

10 Deadly Effects Lack of Sleep Can Cause

10 Deadly Effects Lack of Sleep Can Cause

Struggling with sleep? I get it, I have struggled with sleep myself believe it or not. The reality is that sleep is necessary, and there are many negative effects that lack of sleep can cause. But I totally understand how sometimes the nighttime, when everything is quiet and no one else is awake, is the best time to wind down, catch up on your favorite shows, get some work or chores done, or just finally get some quiet me” time as you aimlessly scroll through social media.

Maybe you are actually trying to go to sleep, but the brain continues to perseverate about what you have to do tomorrow and what you didn’t get done today. Either way, you’re not sleeping. Is not sleeping really worth it to sacrifice your physical and mental health? Keep reading to find out.

As a Usui attuned and trained Reiki Level II practitioner, it is believed that our existence is comprised of four bodies: the physical body (biological/physiological), the mental body (thoughts), the emotional body (feelings), and the spiritual body (energy i.e our Chakra System). As a healing coach, I teach my clients that when stressors occur or we have poor treatment of any of the four bodies and lack in basic needs and self-care, it can manifest as actual ailments or disease in any of the four bodies, especially our physical vessel. This is why self-care is so important.

Part of self-care means giving our physical body what it needs. As a trained former psychotherapist and Licensed Social Worker, I know that when we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our physiological needs are at the base and bottom of the pyramid and are comprised of necessities for our foundational functioning. You can do a quick Google image search to see the actual pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is psychological needs right under safety needs. The basics of our physiological needs are food/nutrition, shelter, water, air/oxygen, clothing, and of course, sleep!

Think about it like this: the house, apartment, or building you reside in cannot withstand itself without a proper foundation. If there are issues in the foundation or the basement, it could impact the whole structure. If you own a home, then you know that structural damage to the foundation or anything interfering with the foundation of your home could be detrimental to its entire existence and durability in duration. Our body, in this case, is no different. This is why we must give our body the essentials, the same way we give our car’s fuel and gas when it needs it and we reboot our phones or laptops when they need to be shut down or restarted.

Our body needs sleep to function. Depriving yourself of sleep can seriously impact your overall health and your longevity and can also eventually have serious or even deadly effects.

So, how does lack of sleep impact the four bodies? Here are the ten deadly effects lack of sleep can cause.


1. Poor Immune System

Sleep deprivation can decrease your immune system, causing you to be more susceptible to illness, chronic medical conditions, and mental health exacerbations, especially if you are already struggling with mental illness or are immunocompromised, or have an autoimmune disease. If you find yourself getting sick often and you have poor sleep, seek support from a medical provider and be sure to increase intake of any herbal remedies that could support the immune system, such as Vitamin C.

2. Poor Physical Health

Lack of sleep has been said to increase the chances of many chronic medical conditions including heart issues and respiratory issues. Thyroid issues have also been linked to poor sleep because the body is not producing the number of necessary hormones essential for optimal thyroid functioning which can impact the entire body, not just our physical health but our spiritual health (Throat Chakra) and our mental health, too.

When we sleep, our body gets the rest it needs so that while we are asleep, the necessary replenishing of hormones or any other “behind the scenes” work can occur.

3. Poor Productivity

Lack of focus and productivity due to poor sleep, including difficulty falling asleep, disrupted sleep, and difficulty staying asleep can truly play a huge role in our overall productivity during the day. It can increase mental fog, which means that we are not tending to our obligations properly fueled.

This also means that it can hinder progress in our responsibilities and while it may not be deadly to our body, it can surely be deadly to our pockets if we lack laser focus and productivity in the workplace, ultimately causing one to lose their job and causing financial hardship.

4. Poor Mental and Emotional Health

As a former ER social worker, I have seen firsthand how lack of sleep can contribute to poor mental health. This can be witnessed in clients with schizophrenia or even Bipolar Disorder II where their mental health symptoms exacerbate as a result of poor sleep or the lack of sleep in and of itself, which can contribute to manic or crisis episodes.

If you already have an underlying mental health illness or diagnosis or if you have poor mental health hygiene, poor sleep is like a toxin to the mental and emotional bodies. This can cause commendatory auditory and visual hallucinations, disorientation, distorted thinking, or delusions which could result in poor decision making, injury to self and others, or worse.


5. Sleep Disorders

Disordered sleep can impact the longevity and function of our overall circadian rhythm. This is one of the most impactful things that lack of sleep can cause. This impacts us physically and mentally but can also lead to increase chances of developing more severe sleep issues or disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia.

It’s important to have a set bedtime and set wake-up time to promote a natural sleep-wake cycle (like the sun and moon), which is ultimately beneficial for your overall health. Additionally, we can become addicted to stimulants or overconsume caffeine, sodas, and energy drinks to support our wake cycle if we are not getting adequate sleep, which also is not good for our health.

6. Forced Shut-Down

Ever have to blast music while driving due to being too tired to drive? I don’t know who needs to hear this, but highway hypnosis is real and when you’re sleep-deprived, especially when driving at night, it can increase your chances of a forced shut-down of the body similar to a prompt computer or phone abrupt shut-down.

As I type this, I think about the scene in the classic comedy movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation, where the character Clark Griswold played by Chevy Chase, falls asleep behind the wheel with his entire family in the car. Now, while he was able to literally evade collision or any other damage in this scene, in real life, this could literally be deadly. Fatigued or drowsy driving is dangerous, especially when operating any heavy machinery or vehicle.

According to CDC,[1]

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.”

We should promote “don’t drive while fatigued” the same way we promote “don’t drink and drive.” You should think twice because it can truly save a life, especially yours.


7. Increased Irritability or Anger

Have you ever got angry or irritable when you’re hungry? I believe the term is called “hangry.” Well, we most definitely can become more irritable when we have lack sleep. Maybe we should coin that to be called “slirritable”—when we are irritable as a result of poor sleep?

Okay, okay, jokes aside, we need to be mindful of our irritability. This impacts the part of our brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for how we regulate our emotions and respond in times of perceived threats. When we don’t sleep and we get annoyed, triggered, or upset, our “fight, flight, and freeze” response gets innately turned on like a light switch, which in turn impacts how we react to situations and our impulse control.

If we are irritable, we are more likely to get into arguments with people we love or worse get into physical fights, which could be deadly to the relationship itself. Pause and breathe before you react or—as they said in the movie Bad Boys 2 starring Will Smith—“woosah” and go get some rest!

8. Poor Memory

When we have sleep dysfunction, it impacts our overall memory recall and the part of our brain that stores memory, which means we are more prone to making mistakes. I have seen this happen firsthand in overworked nurses whose role is vital in keeping patients safe.

If you are not getting enough sleep, it will surely impact your ability to remember processes, systems, structures, routines, and even basic dates, which makes you accident-prone and more likely to make mistakes. When you are overworked and overly tired, this could be deadly depending on your line of work. One mistake can truly cost a life and your job.

9. Weight Gain

If you’re trying to lose weight, this may be difficult if you’re not allowing your body to rest. During rest and sleep, our body is “burning the midnight oil” as they say, and at work while we sleep. The body is using the fuel and nutrition we fed ourselves throughout the day to burn off calories that could help support weight loss.

Poor weight or obesity can lead to other medical ailments and chronic conditions that could cause an untimely demise. So, it’s important that we allow our internal body to rest and “clock into” that graveyard shift while we actually get some shut-eye.


10. Poor Libido

If nothing I have stated thus far gets you trying to set SMART goals to improve sleep difficulties, having it impact your sex life may just be the motivator you need. Yup! Lack of sleep can decrease sex drive!

Poor sleep can impact the production of vital hormones produced naturally by the body to increase sex drive and libido. Lack of adequate hormone production due to sleep difficulties can then lead to severe sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile dysfunction disorder or infertility and even mood problems—which may cause problems for you and your partner(s), both in and out of the bedroom and even put a strain on relationships.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, as a spiritual and intuitive healer, mindfulness advocate, and yoga teacher, I’ll say this: sleep is essential for our spiritual body, more especially now that we know what lack of sleep can cause.

When we sleep, we ground down, reset, and connect to our subconscious self, higher self, and inner knowing. More importantly, we dream. Some believe we can travel in our dreams, get visits from our loved ones who have transitioned and passed on, and even receive guidance and messages. We release, we rest, and we heal all four bodies. It’s no wonder that when we are sick or ill, our body forces us to sleep. Allow yourself the permission to embrace your ultimate pause—the permission to sleep.

If you’re struggling with sleep or your nightly routines, be sure to reach out to your medical and mental health providers for support to ensure optimal health in the four bodies. Referrals for sleep studies can help support any underlying medical etiology related to your sleep concerns or issues. A mental health provider can also help support your sleep difficulties and needs.

Now, go rest!

What You Can Do To Have Sufficient Sleep

Featured photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz via



[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel

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Iris Mendez

I help women co-facilitate healing in the 4 bodies, stop limiting beliefs, root down + rise through breath, body, and energy coaching!

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

Immunity truly does encapsulate the entire physiology of a person.

When you target your immunity by eating a variety of immune boosting foods, then you really can improve your entire body, both physically and mentally.

The immune system of a human being involves all aspects of one’s physiology and one’s daily experience. Eating certain foods can boost your health in a variety of ways. Below I outline several foods that will get you back on track if you’re feeling under the weather.

In order to even broach the topic of foods good for one’s immune system, it’s important to consider all aspects of the human body and experience.

What I mean by the human experience is one’s day to day mood, energy levels, and many other factors that signify how one engages with themselves and the world around them.

Before indulging in these foods below, I suggest striving for consistency with diet, activity levels, rest, and incorporating the practice of meditation or spending time in nature as part of your daily routine as well.

If you’re ready to feel better, not just when you’re under the weather but all the time incorporate these foods in your diet regularly.

Be sure to stock up on these foods if you’re in need of a boost.

1. Water is a Wise Choice

Yes I know I’m starting things seemingly simple, but one of my most popular YouTube videos discusses the importance of water!

When I ask people how much water they drink a day, the majority of time the answer begins with ‘not enough’.

So if you know you don’t drink enough water, why continue this pattern of behavior?

Now if you’re one that does hit that 5+ and more (pending activity levels) 8oz glasses a day – good for you! Water is life, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

2. Eggs — The Most Complete Protein

Widely regarded as the universally most complete nutritional protein source, eggs are packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and 9 essential amino acids.

Egg whites are rich in Vitamins D/E/K, B2, B5, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.


Meanwhile, egg yolks pack the calories and fats along with cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin.

It’s important to note that the average medium egg contains 76 calories, 7.5g protein, 5.1g fat, 1.4g sat fat – so consider this while integrating this near perfect super food in your next dish!

3. Raw Spinach Supports Immunity

This leafy green is a personal favorite of mine due to its versatility and great taste!

Spinach is loaded with vitamin C which helps fight cold, flu, and reinforce the immune system.

It’s also quite high in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which supports our immune system in fighting infection and viruses.

When enjoying this plentiful plant, do so raw. Its nutrients are best absorbed when the vegetable is raw; consider adding spinach as a fresh salad, rather than to a cooked dish, to reap the most immune system rewards.

4. Turmerics Benefit on T-Cells

Gaining popularity for its delicious taste, this powerful spice is also gaining notoriety for its anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin (which also creates the vibrant orange-yellow color).

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology notes that curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are of the primary cells fighting on behalf of your systems immunity. [1]

5. Garlic is Really Good for You

This popular food not only tastes great but packs quite a punch.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which boasts a variety of medicinal properties. Garlic is also not very calorie dense; 1 ounce yields about 42 calories with 1.8g protein and 9g carbs.

Garlic also boasts Vitamin C, B6, Fiber, and Manganese.

The properties mentioned above helps maintain healthy bones, prevent diabetes and epileptic seizures, regulate thyroid, combat osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve cognitive function, and regulate glucose metabolism!

So, forget about garlic breath–eat this food in abundance!

6. Wild Salmon is Wonderful

A personal favorite of mine, wild Alaskan salmon is one of those super foods that covers all your nutrient bases!


Salmon can be cooked a variety of delicious ways, and yields some of the highest immune system boosting benefits.

Salmon contains fish oil Omega-3’s, which protect against developing heart disease and heart attack. Oils contained within such fish are quite unique in that they have Omega-3 fatty acids that are not present in any other food.

Also consider that wild salmon contains (per 4oz) 128% Vitamin D, 95% Vitamin B12, 94% tryptophan, 62% selenium, 53% protein, 53% omega 3’s, 45% Vitamin B3, 37% phosphorus, 32% Vitamin B6, 19% choline, 14% potassium, and 8%(157) calories.

This is one of those super foods that you could stand to have in your diet several times per week. Beyond the incredible taste, its nutritional benefits make it well worth seeking out.

7. Essential Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Many home cooks consider this an essential ingredient in preparing dinner. But it’s also quite good for you!

Extra virgin olive oil is widely regarded as being a healthy addition to any kitchen, with modest amounts of Vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.

Per 100g of olive oil you can expect 14% saturated fat, 73% Monounsaturated fat, 10% Omega-6, 1% Omega-3, 72%, and 75% Vitamin K.

It also boasts an impressive antioxidant profile. This includes the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

8. Natural Greek Yogurt Has Many Benefits

When I talk about natural Greek yogurt, I mean the type that is not flavored in any way. Those added sugars won’t help boost immunity.

Many people have convoluted the immunity and health benefits of natural yogurt with the all too popular sugary treats that flood grocery stores. But it’s the plain stuff that’s the best to include in your diet.

Natural Greek yogurt not only goes great with many dishes, but it contains vast amounts of protein which will leave you feeling satisfied.

The reason why I’ve specified ‘Greek yogurt’ is because one cup of plain, low-fat conventional yogurt typically has 5 to 10 grams of protein, where Greek yogurt averages about 13 to 20 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt also contains essential probiotics (live microorganisms). These are bacteria microbes that help improve digestive function, the immune system, and overall gut health.

Add natural Greek yogurt to your diet, whether as a breakfast food, a substitute for sour cream, or as an addition to a healthy smoothie.


9. Ginseng Tea — Chock Full of Ginsenosides

Ginseng tea’s primary health benefits are due to the naturally occurring chemicals called ginsenosides present in the root.

One of ginseng’s most widely understood benefits include it’s rich anti-cancer properties. [2]

Studies also indicate that people who drink ginseng tea have a lower risk of developing cancer.

Ginseng tea can also help relieve menstrual cramps, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function; and it has also been shown to help with sexual (erectile) dysfunction in men.

10. Green Tea Fights Aging

Just as powerful as ginseng tea, this extremely popular tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and aiding in the fight against cancer.

Green tea is in fact 30% polyphenols, including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that aid in the prevention of cell damage and provide several other benefits.

EGCG, and substances like it can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, helping protect cells and molecules from damage.

Free radicals such as these are commonly known to play a role in aging and all sorts of other diseases.

This wonderful also tea contains small quantities of minerals that are important for overall health, so it may be worth picking up some green tea when visiting your next local tea shop.

11. Dark Chocolate — The Delicious Superfood

Don’t get too excited with this one – everything in moderation, of course!

And I’m not just referring to any chocolate — I’m talking specifically about dark chocolate and cacoa nibs, which are both immune system boosting super foods.

We’ve already covered free radicals in this article, and dark chocolate is one of those wonderful super foods that helps fight against such free radicals.

It does this with its high antioxidant profile which is believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – helpful plant compounds. Much like other immune boosting foods on this list dark chocolate will also help balance cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve heart health, and cognitive function.


You now have a healthy excuse to eat some dark chocolate; but, go for the lowest sugar and highest cocoa content varieties you can find to reap the most rewards.

12. Frozen Blueberries for All!

Personally I love adding frozen blueberries to smoothies; however, sometimes I’ll pop over to the freezer just to grab a small handful as a treat!

Frozen blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which come from compounds called anthocyanins; these give blueberries their purple hue.

One really neat fact about the ice crystals that form when the berries are frozen is that they disrupt the structure of the plant tissue and make anthocyanins even more available – how cool is that? Talk about hacking blueberries!

Even if not frozen, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. They have been known to boost memory, cardiovascular system, and eyesight. The fruit also encourages a process called authophagy, or ‘cell clean-up’.

Berries in general (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are extremely high on the ORAC scale. This means they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals.

Frozen blueberries in particular may aid in defending colds and flu, as they are high in pterostilbene.

Next time you visit your local grocery store, consider how ideal blueberries are for your immune system and general health.

13. Raw Honey — A Natural Antioxidant

Saving the sweetest for last!

Pure natural raw honey follows the rest of this super food list with its antioxidant profile, however it also contains antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and certain types contain just as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

Raw honey can help the body kill-off unwanted bacteria and fungus as it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong antiseptic. Raw honey also contains phytonutrients, commonly found in plants, which provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Aside from these wonderful benefits, raw honey can also aid with digestive issues, however this typically varies person to person.

Indulge in Better Health

But also, don’t forget to rest! When considering one’s overall health, it’s important to not only incorporate these immune boosting foods, but also to ensure adequate sleep, and take efforts to reduce stress.


Eating these immunity boosting foods will enable you to take back control of your health and prevent illness… all while satisfying your cravings!

Featured photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via


[1] Journal of Immunology: Curcumin
[2] NCBI: Ginseng for Fatigue

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