As adults, we constantly tell our children that sleep is important to help them to grow, and to help them to develop properly, although many adults do not heed their own advice, and they regularly get less sleep then they should do. There are a number of different ways that not getting enough sleep can affect your health.
Reduced learning capacity
If you have not had enough sleep, your ability to concentrate is vastly reduced, and your cognitive processes slow down. Reduced concentration prevents you from spending as long focusing on new information as you should, and low cognitive processes prevent you from forming the right learning pathways. In order to learn the same amount, you will have to work harder and harder, before you ever reach a peak.
Those who have had less sleep are more likely to suffer from accidents. This can range from small accidents such as tripping, right through to major accidents, such as road traffic accidents or problems which occur while using heavy machinery. These accidents not only put you at risk, but they also put other people around you at risk as well.
There are a range of physical symptoms which are associated with sleep deprivation, including high blood pressure, strokes, heart irregularities and diabetes. Many of these problems can potentially exacerbate sleep issues, thus creating a vicious circle.
Increased stress levels
Lack of sleep can contribute to rising stress levels, which can lead to a number of mental health issues, including increased irritability, feeling easily overwhelmed, depression, feelings of isolation and loneliness, susceptibility to relax, agitation and poor judgment. High stress levels can also manifest themselves as physical symptoms. Regular sleep patterns and sufficient sleep can help to reduce stress levels, or help to make stress more manageable.
Changes in eating habits
Many people who do not get enough sleep report that their appetites decrease or increase by an unusual amount. Changes in appetite can affect your diet, meaning that you will struggle to get the correct nutritional balance from your food. Many people who have been maintaining unusual sleep patterns have reported that they have put on weight quite quickly, and struggle to lose weight again.
To alleviate these problems, it is important that you try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and get around 7-8 hours of sleep every single night. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth talking to a sleep expert to seek assistance.