6 Negative Impacts from Lack of Sleep

6 Negative Impacts from Lack of Sleep

6 negative impacts from lack of sleep

Staying healthy isn’t just about diet and exercise. 

Our health is impacted by so many things every day, but some factors can cause serious damage if not tended to correctly!

Waking up after a night of restless sleep feels terrible. We’re groggy, irritable, and overwhelmingly tired, but those aren’t the only negative effects of not getting enough sleep. In fact, the amount of sleep we get every night plays a major role in the state of our health in ways that most people don’t even realize! In order to prevent these things from happening, it helps to understand how sleep contributes to our overall health. This guide outlines several major impacts that lack of sleep can have so that you can navigate your sleep schedule better! 


lack of sleep and depression

Image by Kate Williams

1. Depression

There are so many factors that contribute to mood imbalances and mental health issues, such as depression. It’s something that most people will struggle with at least once in their life and needs to be well understood to ensure better chances of recovering. In fact, statistics show around 16.2 million Americans experience at least one major depressive episode in any given year, which is a saddening and concerning statistic. Trauma, unhealthy eating habits, and untreated illnesses (mental and physical) can lead to the development of depression or depressive behaviors. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression or have found yourself in a depressive state, there are so many tools to help you manage and overcome the obstacles that depression can put in front of you. Mental health services such as therapy and medications is one option, but there is more to managing mental health that has to be included in a holistic approach to address how depression affects overall health. Maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy sleep pattern are equally important to therapy and medication in regulating moods! Depression and other psychiatric disorders are heavily linked to chronic sleep deprivation and vice versa. Sleep is the brain’s time to process the massive amount of information we take in every day, sort through our emotions, and regulate conscious and subconscious processes. Unhealthy sleep habits and taking away that processing time from your brain can easily worsen the state of your mental health, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of your sleep schedule! If you or someone you know is experiencing issues regulating sleep or showing signs and behaviors of depression, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can contact the SAMSHA National Helpline (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their homepage here for more information and to get access to necessary resources. 

lack of sleep and weight gain

Image by i yunmai 

2. Weight Gain

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for living a long and happy life. Everyone’s perfect weight is different, but not getting enough sleep can make maintaining that weight a much more difficult task than it needs to be. One of the ways that sleep affects eating habits and how the body metabolizes food is by regulating certain neurotransmitters that determine appetite levels. Research suggests sleep deprivation can lead to increased appetite as well as metabolic dysregulation, or a reduced ability for the body to break down foods. This means that getting plenty of sleep is important for anyone trying to keep a healthy weight, but also a major factor to consider for anyone looking to lose weight! If you’re having trouble seeing results in your weight loss journey, take a look at how much sleep you’re getting and whether you’re getting your body what it needs to function properly. 


lack of sleep and heart disease

Image by Jesse Orrico

3. Heart Disease

Sleep isn’t just a time for your body to relax. In fact, your brain and body kick into high gear during the sleep cycle with a number of physical, mental, and chemical processes. This time is incredibly necessary for regulating a number of systems, including the cardiovascular system. Lack of sleep can increase your risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke by a significant amount. If you’re already at risk, make sure you are taking care of your heart by going to bed on time. If you’re not already at risk, reduce your chances by following a healthy sleep schedule! 

lack of sleep and skin aging

Image by Malin K.

4. Skin Aging 

Lack of sleep can have a lot more physical effects than sore muscles or red eyes. Research shows that a lack of sleep can contribute to increased skin aging in the form of fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced elasticity. This can be an issue since many people, especially younger people, find more comfort and value in having a youthful-looking appearance. Certain behaviors such as smoking and sleep deprivation can cause the aging process to speed up significantly, resulting in instances of reduced-worth and mental health issues. 

lack of sleep and high blood pressure

Image by impulsq

5. High Blood Pressure

We’ve already touched on how sleep affects the regulation of the cardiovascular system and regulating blood pressure is a significant part of that system. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can cause a number of health issues including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, aneurysms, and more. The body tends to lower blood pressure and heart rate during stages of sleep, which helps to regulate these lower numbers even when awake and active. Not allowing your body that important time to rest pushes your heart and circulatory system into overdrive, increasing changes of life-threatening issues and raising blood pressure. 


lack of sleep and memory problems

Image by Robina Weermeijer

6. Memory Problems

Have you noticed yourself forgetting small things more often or being unable to recall recent things you would normally remember? Maybe it’s time to take a look at your sleep schedule! Did you know that sleep guides the movement of memories from one part of the brain to another? That’s right, memories move throughout our brains! They typically stem from the hippocampus and move into the prefrontal cortex where we can access in a more long-term sense. Not getting enough sleep can prevent this movement from happening, meaning memories are not readily available to be retrieved on command, making us seem forgetful or unable to remember a lot of things. 

Everyone’s perfect number of sleeping hours is different. Some people can get by with 7 and others need at least 10 to be their best selves! Most doctors suggest no less than 6 hours as an indication for a healthy dose of sleep, but if you want more clarity feel free to discuss your sleep schedule with your doctor! Use this list of symptoms as inspiration to stick to your sleep schedule and prioritize your health! 

We hope you enjoy this article about 6 Negative Impacts from Lack of Sleep. If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the 

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