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15 Hair-Raising Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

15 Hair-Raising Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

We live in a time when sleep is just a substitute of coffee for people who have too much free time on their hands. We all try to squeeze as many things into our daily schedule as possible. Theoretically, we all know that we need more sleep, but there are so many matters that require our urgent presence. But it turns out that we might be doing ourselves a grave disservice.

It’s time to face the cold and cruel reality and recognize sleep deprivation as the archenemy of our well-being. Raise your pillows! This is your wake-up call (pun so absolutely intended).

Let’s take a look at what will happen if you neglect your sleep:

1. You will be ugly.

Shocking, isn’t it?! Well, not really. I can bet that you’ve never heard anyone complimenting your swollen eyelids, pale skin and droopy corners of the mouth. And that’s precisely what scientists from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have confirmed in their study titled Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance.

Ten participants of the study were kept awake for 31 hours. Subsequently, their before and after pictures were assessed by 40 observers. The verdict was, of course, unanimous. All of the participants were perceived as less health, sadder, and more fatigued after the 31-hour period of sleeplessness.

2. You will be drunk.

You might not be literally drunk, but it has been estimated that “17 hours of sustained wakefulness was equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%.” (Drowsy Driving Prevention by Siobhan Kuhar, MD, PhD, DABSM).

Sleepiness has comparable impact on our mind to alcohol (minus fun factor of course)–it decreases awareness, impairs judgment and slows reaction time.

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Sleep deprivation makes you drunk

    3. You will be less innovative.

    Are you planning to create a next big thing in the likes of Twitter or Facebook? There is a slim chance that you’ll succeed while suffering from sleep deprivation.

    Research conducted on a military personnel who were kept awake for two days revealed significantly reduced ability to come up with ideas about given topics [May, J., Kline, P. (1987) Measuring the effects on cognitive abilities of sleep loss during continuous operations. British Journal of Psychology].

    4. Your resting blood pressure will increase.

    There is a growing body of research confirming that sleep deprivation leads to increased blood pressure (Fujikawa et al., 2009). What’s more, for people with hypertension as little as even half a night of sleep can lead to the same result (Lusardi et al., 1996).

    5. You will be dumber.

    I think that we all have experienced it at some point in our lives–even small amounts of sleeplessness affect our cognitive functions.

    study conducted in 2004 showed that those deprived of sleep for 24 hours have trouble remembering, and difficulty concentrating. So say goodbye to proper reasoning and your problem-solving skills! What’s more, even one night of sleep loss will reduce your ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.

    6. You will get sick.

    During sleep, the immune system produces cytokines–proteins which combat various types of viruses. Their number increases when your body needs protection from bacteria.

    Sleep deprivation means that we are more prone to disease and virus attacks as the level of cytokines drop (Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director, Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders, Hackensack University Medical Center, N.J.).

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    You will get sick

      7. You will look old.

      That’s right. You can spend all you want on magical beauty products but it won’t help you if you’re sleep deprived.

      Why?

      Stress increases the production of a hormone called cortisol, which increases sebum secretion and contributes to the attacks of acne. Sleep plays a key role in the process of skin regeneration. While you sleep, stress hormones return to normal levels and give cells time to repair and regenerate.

      The study included premenopausal women, aged 30-49 years, half of whom were classified as having poor quality sleep. Several tests have confirmed that the dermal tissue of sleep deprived women have twice as many internal indicators of aging, such as wrinkles, blemishes, low level of firmness and elasticity (Effects of Sleep Quality on Skin Aging and Function, University Hospitals Case Medical Center)

      8. You will kill your sex drive.

      If your libido drops, it is possible that you are not getting enough sleep. Fatigue, depleted energy and increased tension are usual culprits. But for men with sleep apnea another factor comes into play.

      A study published in 2002 (Lavie, P. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; vol 87: pp 3394-3398.) suggests that men suffering from this condition have abnormally low levels of testosterone.

      How to kill your libido

        9. You will get fat.

        I know it’s a bit depressing, but it turns out that losing sleep can make you gain weight.

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        The fact that people who sleep more are less likely to be overweight has been confirmed by many studies (Stephanie M. Greer, Andrea N. Goldstein, Matthew P. Walker. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3259). Research has shown that people who sleep less than four hours a day are more likely to be obese by an average of 73% than the ones who sleep normally.

        Why is that?

        Hormones. Those pesky hormones! Hunger signals in the brain are controlled by ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to eat. On the other hand, leptin, a hormone produced in adipose tissue, reduces appetite and causes the feeling of satiety. When we are tired, the level of ghrelin in our bloodstream increases while the level of leptin decreases.

        10. You will feel cold.

        Make sure you have your jumper handy. Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism, which in turn lowers your body temperature (M Suzanne Stevens, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical and Laboratory Director of Sleep Medicine Clinic, University of Kansas: Normal Sleep, Sleep Physiology, and Sleep Deprivation).

        11. You will get depressed.

        According to statistics, patients with sleep problems are more likely to develop a wide array of mood disorders. Take your pick: Irritability? Check. Mood swings? Check. Anxiety? Double check!

        What’s more, the risk of depression among sleep deprived patients is four times higher than among healthy subjects. If the period of insomnia lasts long enough, it can even lead to suicidal thoughts (National Sleep Foundation: “Teens and Sleep,” “ABCs of ZZZZs — When you Can’t Sleep,” “2005 Adult Sleep Habits and Styles.”).

        12. You will damage your bones.

        Ok, I admit, it might be a little bit far-fetched. So far it’s been proven true among rats. In a 2012 study, researchers found changes to bone mineral density and bone marrow in these little creatures after they were kept awake for 72 days. It’s speculated that the inability to repair bone damage while being sleep deprived might be also true for us (Everson CA, Folley AE, Toth JM., Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats).

        13. You will be clumsy.

        Don’t even think about showing your friends cool butterfly knife tricks after a night without proper shut-eye. According to Clete Kushida, M.D., Ph.D., director of Stanford University Center for Human Sleep Research, lack of sleep compromises our balance and depth perception, as well as dulls our reflexes. In other words, it’s bad for our  motor skills.

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        14. You will be overly emotional.

        Does the picture of this puppy brings tears to your eyes? Then get a grip on yourself, or on the pillow since it turns out that lack of sleep makes us emotionally volatile.

        One of the studies conducted among 26 participants has showed a 60% rise in the amygdala activity (compared to well-rested volunteers), which is responsible for processing fear and anxiety (Seung-Schik Yoo, Ninad Gujar, Peter Hu, Ferenc A. Jolesz and Matthew P. Walker, The human emotional brain without sleep — a prefrontal amygdala disconnect).

        You will be overly emotional

          15. You will live shorter.

          Numerous studies report that sleep deprivation causes increase in mortality even after adjusting for other medical conditions that affect sleep and death rates, such as obesity, alcohol and depression, as well as for age, race, education and body mass index.

          A 2010 study established that men who slept for less than six hours a night were four times more likely to die over a 14-year period (The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Insomnia with Short Sleep Duration and Mortality).

          Time for a new resolution

          I don’t know how about you, but I solemnly swear that I’ll at least try to sleep more. It’s worth it.

          Need help? Here are some great tips to get some quality shut-eye.

          Have you noticed any of these symptoms in yourself or maybe have some interesting story to share as a warning? Let us know in the comments.

          Featured photo credit: clock black church/Dan Shirley (Fishmonk) via rgbstock.com

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          Last Updated on May 20, 2019

          How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

          How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

          Time.

          When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

          As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

          Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

          Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

          The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

          There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

          Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

          And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

          So, how do you start?

          Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


          The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

          What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

          Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

          A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

          Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

          Assess Your Current Time Spent

          Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

          For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

          To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

          Tricks to Tackle Distractions

          Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

          Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

          Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

          1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

          One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

          Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

          2. Beware of Emails

          Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

          Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

          Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

          3. Let Technology Help

          As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

          Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

          4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

          Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

          This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

          So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

          Time is in Your Hands

          At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

          You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

          Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

          So what are you waiting for? 

          Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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