Experts recommend between 7 – 9 hours of shut-eye time for healthy adults…and yet, only about 21% of Americans follow through with this recommended sleep time each night.
Of course, different people need different amounts of sleep [meaning some might need more or less shut-eye time than others]. But, generally speaking, a person is considered sleep-deprived once they get less sleep than they need to feel fully awake and alert.
Many people assume not getting enough Zzzs can only lead to a groggy morning or at most, make them feel grumpy and foggy all through the day. Actually, there are more nightmarish side effects to skipping sleep that would surely surprise [perhaps, even scare you!]
Below are 5 surprising and serious effects of sleep deprivation:
#1: Sleep deprivation causes accidents
Lack of sleep causes road accidents and other public safety hazards, every single day. Drowsiness, like drunk driving, slows down a driver’s reaction time with fatal consequences.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue is a cause in about 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths each year in the U.S.
Sleep loss - as well as - poor quality sleep leads to accidents and injuries on the job. One study showed that workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness were involved in more repeated work accidents.
#2: Lack of sleep leads to a host of critical health problems
Studies have found that sleep disorders or excessive sleep loss can put you at risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke -- to mention a few.
In fact, according to one estimate, 90% of people with insomnia [a condition that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep] also have another serious health condition.
#3: Sleep loss kills sex drive
According to sleep experts, sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos [aka less interest in sex]. Perhaps, this may be due to low energy, sleepiness, and increased tension.
Sleep apnea [a respiratory condition that interrupts sleep] may be another factor that contributes to reduced sex drive. According to one study, many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels.
#4: Sleepiness leads to depression
Lack of sleep for an extended period of time can contribute to feelings of depression. In one ‘Sleep in America’ poll conducted in 2005, people who were diagnosed with anxiety or depression were more likely to sleep less than 6 hours during the night.
Insomnia [the most common sleep disorder] has been shown to have the strongest link to depression. In one study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were 5X more likely to end up depressed compared to those without the condition.
#5: Sleep deprivation may increase risk of death
In one study, British researchers looked into how sleep patterns affected the mortality of over 10,000 civil servants in Britain over two decades.
The results showed that those who had cut back on their sleep from 7 to 5 hours [or less] per night, almost doubled their risk of death from all causes, particularly -- risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Scary, right? Absolutely!
So, there you have it!
Next time you’re tempted to give up sleep for something seemingly important, remember that sleep deprivation can lead to all kinds of fatalities – and you don’t deserve that!
Want more surprising and scary effects of sleep deprivation? Awesome! Hook up Lee via this wellness video, right here and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Want to tell us which fact you found most surprising...or scary? Great! Tag us @nestednaturals and use hashtag #SleepWakeThrive -- we’d love to hear from you!