Modern life is incredibly hectic. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and there are always more things to add to the to-do list. We’re constantly trying to balance work with our social lives with self-care and exercise.
With all of those vying to be your main priority, many of us seem to end up trying to make more hours in the day literally, by skimping on shut-eye.
Depriving yourself of sleep is a badge of honor these days. People practically boast about pulling an all-nighter to finish a project. Those who stay out until the small hours every night are seen as glamorous and perhaps even a bit rock and roll.
Everyone has that one friend that goes out every night after work, drinks copious amounts of alcohol with their seemingly never-ending network of friends, goes home at 2 am and then is up at 6 am for work and doesn’t seem to suffer. You might even be that person. Or trying to be.
We often say to them “I don’t know how you do it” as if we ourselves would quite like the ability to be able to survive on next to no sleep. But the thing is, they might just about be surviving, but they’re definitely not thriving.
There are a few consequences of sleep deprivation that are immediately obvious. Written all over your face. There are some, though, that will accumulate and hit you like a freight train later in life.
So why should sleep be at the top of your priority list?
7 Ways Sleep Deprivation Is Ruining Your Life
A lack of sleep can…
1. Decimate Your Sex Drive
I wouldn’t mind betting that you’ve used the “not tonight, honey, I’m too tired” line to get out of sex in the past. When you’re tired, sex is often the last thing on your mind, and people are now starting to look into the science behind the sleep-sex drive relationship.
A study concluded that just one more hour of sleep leads to a 14% increase in the chance of having sex the next day. Turns out, it doesn’t actually matter how tired you feel, your sex drive will still suffer if you’re not sleeping enough. That’s definite motivation in my book.
2. Affect Your Relationship
The sex can play a part here, but if you’re generally finding your partner more annoying and are less concerned about their wellbeing, it could well be down to sleep deprivation.
This applies to other relationships too. A lack of sleep can make you less tolerant and more self-involved. If you stop putting the needs of others before your own before long you’ll probably find that people get more than a bit fed up of it.
Life is, at the end of the day, all about the relationships that we have with other people. If yours are suffering, sleep might be the answer.
3. Make You Age Quicker
I think this one might be a big motivator for quite a few of you. Studies have proven that if you don’t sleep well, you’re more likely to show signs of aging, like fine lines and reduced elasticity.
That’s because your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re not sleeping enough, which can break down collagen.
Are you sacrificing sleep to have more time to finish work? Turns out it doesn’t work like that. If you’re not well-rested, then your speed of work and the quality of your output take a dip.
Talk about counter-productive!
5. Impair Your Judgment
Life is made up of little decisions, and in a sleep-deprived state, you’re bound to make the wrong ones.
Sleep deprivation affects your visual working memory, so you aren’t able to make decisions in the reasonable way you normally would. If you dose up on coffee to make up for a lack of sleep, it’s even worse.
6. Get You Down
Sadly (no pun intended), a lack of sleep and depression often go hand in hand. A study has shown that people with insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression.
It’s a bit of a vicious circle, as you can imagine, with negative thoughts keeping you up, and the fact you can’t sleep leading to negative thoughts.
Mental health issues are hugely widespread these days, and even if you don’t actually suffer from insomnia, if you’re voluntarily depriving yourself of sleep then you’re essentially playing with fire.
7. Make You Pile on The Pounds
This might be the one that finally convinces a lot of you. Do you struggle with your weight?
People who get the recommended amount of sleep (seven to nine hours a night) are less likely to become obese than those who get the right amount of nap time.
It’s all to do with a lack of sleep stimulating your appetite, especially your cravings for junk food. Turns out, the saying “you snooze, you lose” might have a lot of truth to it.
I could go on, but I don’t think I need to. Just the simple act of getting enough sleep could make a huge difference to your life, both now and further down the line.
Start taking your sleep seriously, and don’t let those solid eight hours a night become negotiable. You’ll feel far better, and achieve far more for it.
Katie is a wellness expert who spends most of her time trying out new plant-based recipes, trail running, traveling and napping. When she’s not doing that she’s writing for Sleep Health Energy, a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about enjoying top-to-toe health and getting a restful night’s sleep, which will leave you bursting with energy. Follow along on Twitterand Facebook
Katie is a wellness expert who spends most of her time trying out new plant-based recipes, trail running, traveling and napping. When she’s not doing that she’s writing for Sleep Health Energy, a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about enjoying top-to-toe health and getting a restful night’s sleep, which will leave you bursting with energy. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook