25 Scary And Surprising Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Posted by , Updated on May 20, 2024

Chances are you might not be getting enough sleep right now. Discover 25 surprising and unexpected effects of lack of sleep.



It increases your risk of cancer

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Especially breast and prostate cancer. In fact, the link between sleeplessness and cancer has been studied so much that the World Health Organization has considered labeling “shift work” as a carcinogen.


It causes you to gain weight

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If you are trying to lose weight then you definitely don’t want to lose sleep as well. Sleepy people are hungrier and tend to eat hundreds of more calories per day.


It increases inflammation throughout your body

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This itself turns into a risk factor for numerous other diseases and complications.


It depresses you

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While lack of sleep is not a direct cause of depression, the emotional side effects of sleep deprivation are a breeding ground for psychological disorders.


It makes it harder to control your emotions

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On the topic of emotions, sleepy people have a harder time controlling their emotional responses. It’s like a drug…you relinquish control of your body.


It makes it harder to read other people's emotions

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Not only is it hard to control your own emotions, you’ll have a hard time relating to others. Certainly not a good thing when it comes to jobs, marriages, etc.


It weakens your immune system

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Missing sleep will almost guarantee to make you sick. But if you haven’t realized thus far, the common cold is the least of your worries.


It increases your risk of diabetes

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Lack of sleep increases your body’s resistance to insulin. For those of you that are medically challenged, this basically means that your chance of getting type 2 diabetes skyrockets.


It permanently damages your skin

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When you don’t get enough sleep your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. Aside from some of its more terrifying effects, it breaks down skin collagen which is the protein that keep your skin smooth and elastic.


It makes your brain "dirty"

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Although this is one of the more recent additions to this list, some researchers have recently discussed ways that sleep promotes the removal of neural waste from your brain. Whatever that is, it doesn’t sound good.


It decreases your life expectancy

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By this point this should probably come as no surprise. People who sleep less than 6 hours per day are 4 times more likely to die of any cause within the next decade than those that do.


It reduces the effect of vaccines

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Anything less than seven hours per night and you might as well consider not getting the vaccine in the first place.


It increases your risk of heart disease

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The stress of not sleeping causes your body to release all of the same hormones that will one day give you a heart attack. In fact, people who sleep less than 6 hours per day have a 48 percent higher chance of dying from heart complications later in life.


It tricks you

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You think you’re performing ok, but your not. Like any drug you can’t even judge your own effectiveness at basic tasks adequately.


It causes high blood pressure

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You already know that lack of sleep is bad for your heart. This just compounds it.


It causes irregular heart beats

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If all these heart complications aren’t enough, you also have to worry about your brain, which brings us to…


It increases your risk of stroke

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Once again, anyone who sleeps less than six hours a night acquires a significantly increased risk of having a stroke.


It makes you weaker

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It’s during slow wave sleep that certain growth hormones are released. These chemicals repair your body tissues, increase your muscle mass, thicken your bones, and strengthen your skin. That’s not something you want to miss out on.


It destroys your bones

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As you just saw, when you lose sleep your body can’t repair itself. You basically start falling apart.


It increases chronic pains

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If you have any long term pains or complications, lack of sleep will exacerbate them.


It decreases your ability to cope with stress

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Your body is weaker both physically and mentally. Even low levels of stress will harm you in ways you are not aware of until later on.


It decreases your ability to respond under pressure

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Well rested people at least have the possibility of keeping a level head in high pressure situations. Sleep deprived people will panic, make rash decisions, or freeze up.


It kills creativity

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This shouldn’t really be a surprise.


It increases your risk of dying in a car accident exponentially

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In many ways, sleep deprivation is worse than being intoxicated. Driving while sleepy is a not a good idea under any circumstance. Remember what we said about sleep loss tricking you into thinking you’re okay?


It causes memory loss

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Sure, you might remember a few things for your exam the next day but good luck remembering anything after that.