The 10 Weirdest Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

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By: , – Jane Bianchi, Woman's Day
7/15/2013 6:00 AM   :  13 comments   :  17,842 Views

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Be honest: How many hours did you sleep last night? If you’re like 35% of Americans, then you probably got fewer than seven hours—in other words, not enough! You already know that a lack of rest can lead to exhaustion, and you may have heard it can raise your risk for serious health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, because it’s associated with insulin resistance, inflammation and the thickening of blood vessels. But there are even more unexpected, negative consequences. Here, what to watch out for, and how to hit the hay earlier. 


1. Weight Gain

"Sleep deprivation slows your metabolism and increases your appetite. It also makes you crave high-fat and high-carb foods," says Michael Breus, PhD, a psychologist and sleep disorder specialist in Scottsdale, AZ. One trick: Cut out that evening glass of wine (sorry!), because although alcohol makes you want to snooze, it actually disrupts sleep later in the night. Plus, slashing calories prevents your waistline from widening. 

2. Moodiness

When you're tired, you might notice a temporary change in your emotions—maybe a sappy commercial you’ve seen dozens of times suddenly makes you cry. If you're chronically tired, though, you may have a more serious condition. "Research shows that at least 50% of people with depression have some type of sleep problem—usually insomnia," says Lisa Shives, MD, an internist and sleep medicine expert in Evanston, IL, and the medical expert for SleepBetter.org. "Neurotransmitters involved in our sleep/wake cycle are linked to feel-good hormones, like serotonin." If you're feeling off-kilter, see a psychologist who’s also a sleep specialist—that way, whether your moodiness is causing a sleep problem or vice versa, you can get help.

3. Swollen, Dark Undereye Circles

"When you don’t sleep, your body loses moisture, so your skin becomes dehydrated. This can lead to circles under your eyes," says Joel Schlessinger, MD, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in Omaha, NE. Start a new bedtime ritual: First, drink a cup of chamomile tea an hour before you lie down. This herbal beverage doesn’t contain caffeine, and it hydrates and relaxes you. Second, apply facial moisturizer and eye cream, which stops your skin from drying out. 

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Comments

  • 13
    good information - 8/19/2013   2:42:01 PM
  • GMAWAFER
    12
    Very interesting article. Some facts that I did not know about.
    - 8/16/2013   4:23:15 PM
  • ATONE007
    11
    Fantastic article about sleep - so many people just don't get enough of it. Stress is a major reason why we don't sleep, as well as the mind racing a 1000 mph while we are in bed. You can learn some great stress management techniques to help with this.
    www.atoneholistictherapy.co.uk/stre
    ss-management
    - 8/14/2013   5:26:18 AM
  • 10
    I had a forced retirement, but I can say, it was the best thing for my health. For over 20 years I had less than 6 hours of sleep each night. I thought that was the par. Well SP has changed that. Now I feel I am resting too much - probably. And that is not good either. I will reach a happy medium when I learn to keep my goals in front of me each day. - 8/5/2013   2:03:27 PM
  • 9
    I regularly get 8-9 hours of sleep when I sleep at night. Because I work nights, generally get 6-7 during the day. So it I regulary get so much why do I have a weight problem?! - 7/16/2013   5:52:12 PM
  • 8
    I can get 8 hours when ever i stay off the computer. I forget the time while I am researching, Facebooking, SPing etc. Computers, like TV's, are very addictive. They steal your life away minutes at a time. I need to watch the clock and just get off! Sleep is more important.
    Those with young children need to let them cry for a bit. Sometimes they will go to sleep. They needto respect sleep time, even if they are bored. Not when they're sick. I mean the fussy ones who want your attention, or just want company.
    - 7/16/2013   3:47:04 PM
  • 7
    Well... I ended up backing into a lightpost and causing quite a bit of damage to our car... not my best day. - 7/16/2013   7:45:43 AM
  • 6
    See a neurologist if you have sleep problems. My son had severe sleep apnea and another sleep disorder, undiagnosed for many years. His life has now changed upon receiving proper treatment. Learn from us. See a neurologist.
    - 7/15/2013   10:29:53 PM
  • 5
    I had horrible fine motor control issues, and severe balance issues like vertigo that went on for 3 1/2 months or so this past year. It went away after I'd been diagnosed with sleep apnea and hypopnea (shallow breathing at night), and was put on cpap therapy. I was 50% better after 7 nights of good sleep, and 90% after one month. So it can cause really weird symptoms I know. I even saw two neurologists and they found nothing else wrong with me, It was the sleep deprivation caused by apneas. - 7/15/2013   3:55:10 PM
  • 4
    I try very hard to get between 7 - 8 hours of sleep. But most nights I am lucky if I get 5 - 6. It doesn't help right now when the kids don't have school and my boyfriend doesn't take into consideration that I still have to get up and go to work even if they get to sleep in, that I can't stay up till midnight like he does.

    I totally feel the crabbyness, if I go three days of just 5 hours I have a melt down, which I know isn't good for me or anyone around me. Trying to find that balance has been a hard one to do. - 7/15/2013   12:58:45 PM
  • 3
    I remember when I could nap whenever I wanted - now its a struggle and so is sleeping. Glad that I read this article and have to actively work and creating better sleep habits. - 7/15/2013   7:00:50 AM
  • 2
    I struggle to get enough sleep each night. I am working on it, trying to make slow changes. I have seen some minor improvements, especially in sleep quality, but I still don't get enough hours.... - 7/15/2013   6:14:17 AM
  • 1
    When I started work back in 1959 I don't think there has been a day when I had 7 hours sleep. When I was ill I did but not when I was healthy with no problem.

    I only started to put on weight in 1991 when I was made redundant from a very active job. Up to then I was 10st 9lbs for over ten years.

    My job made me go to bed at 9 PM and up at 0230 to be at work at 3am., I loved it. In fact trying to stay in bet on a Sunday was the hardest part of the job.
    - 7/15/2013   3:15:09 AM

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