Lack of sleep – The consequences of not getting enough sleep
Many people regularly sleep too little, although sufficient sleep is important for our daily performance and a healthy everyday life. But what really happens when we sleep too little all the time? Here you can find out how sleep deprivation can affect our body and what persistent lack of sleep means for our health.
Table of Contents
- Far too little sleep
- What does lack of sleep mean?
- Consequences of not getting enough sleep
- Effects on the psyche
- Effects on the body
- Noise & Sounds
- An overview of the consequences of lack of sleep
- Prevent lack of sleep
1. Far too little sleep
More and more people are sleeping too little and neglecting their nightly sleep in favor of professional or social obligations. Experts generally recommend that adults sleep regularly for approx. 7-8 hours. The results of a sleep study by Techniker Krankenkasse show that this sleep duration is rarely reached nowadays. Every second German regularly sleeps less than six hours a day. And that despite the fact that sufficient and restful sleep is of great importance, especially in the increasingly stressful everyday life.
2. What does lack of sleep mean?
Sleep is the central recovery period for our body and should therefore not be too short. Numerous repair and recovery processes take place during sleep. The immune system is running at full speed, we process experiences and information and also gather new energy for the next day. Night after night we go through several sleep cycles, which in turn are divided into different sleep phases. You can read here what exactly happens during sleep. Nights that are too short or frequent interruptions in sleep can disturb the natural flow of our sleep and the regeneration processes that take place. A regular sleep duration is of great importance so that we can wake up refreshed in the morning and master our everyday life in a healthy and efficient manner. The good news: short-term lack of sleep can be compensated for and the lack of sleep can be made up for. However, if you permanently shorten your sleep and do not meet your individual sleep needs, you not only endanger your daily well-being in the long run, but also damage your own health.
3. Consequences of not getting enough sleep
Lack of sleep prevents the body and mind from regenerating sufficiently. There are many negative consequences, especially in the long run.
Effects on the psyche
Reduced brain and memory performance
During sleep, our brain processes the experiences of the day and transfers relevant information to long-term memory. Even an acute lack of sleep leads to a reduction in these so-called neurocognitive functions, which means that the brain reacts less well to external stimuli, memory deteriorates and the ability to pay attention when awake is weakened.
Declining stress resistance & mood swings
Lack of sleep promotes the release of the "stress hormone" cortisol, so that our brain is additionally stressed and general stress resistance is reduced. We feel increasingly stressed, are more irritable, suffer from mood swings and find it difficult to relax.
Effects on the body
Disturbed metabolism and hormonal balance
Insufficient sleep disrupts the metabolic processes that are crucial for night-time regeneration. The renewal and construction of new cells in muscles, skin and other tissues are disrupted by negatively affecting the release of important growth hormones. In addition, the energy stores in the muscles and brain cannot be fully replenished. The blood sugar level is also negatively influenced by persistent lack of sleep, thereby increasing the risk of obesity or diabetes.
Weakening of the immune system
During sleep, the number of natural defense cells in the body increases, harmful substances are transported away and the body cells are repaired and renewed. Studies show that even a one-time sleep deficit of three hours impairs the function of the immune cells. Accordingly, those who sleep too little weaken the development of a strong immune system and are more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Even a slight regular lack of sleep of one to two hours a night puts the body in a state of stress. Cortisol levels rise, putting our bodies on high alert, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. This puts additional strain on the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in the long term.
An overview of the consequences of lack of sleep
Reduction in cognitive performance and ability to concentrate
Decreased memory performance
Mood swings & irritability
Decreased physical performance
Weakened immune system
Increased risk of disease, e.g. B for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases
4. Prevent sleep deprivation
Because we can easily compensate for a small sleep deficit and catch up on sleep, one or the other short night is usually not a problem. A regular lack of sleep, on the other hand, means that the body repeatedly cannot regenerate itself sufficiently. Little by little we lose our ability to perform, affect our well-being and damage our health.
Various reasons can lead to us neglecting our sleep and not being able to meet our individual sleep needs. In order to master your everyday life without any problems and to maintain your health and performance, you should try not to do without sleep permanently for professional or social reasons. You can find out how you can improve your sleep in the long term in this article.
Caution: If sleep disorders or health problems are the reason for a permanent lack of sleep, you should always seek advice from a doctor.
Every second German regularly sleeps too little - and the trend is rising.
Lack of sleep impairs physical and mental performance and is detrimental to health and well-being.
Insufficient sleep weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to diseases, infections, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
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