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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

By The Rescue® Team

Sleep plays a pivotal role in mental and physical health – how you’ve slept sets the tone for your day ahead, and a pattern of sleeplessness can impact your quality of life. If you’re someone who struggles with sleep, you probably know this already, and thinking about it might add to feelings of anxiety around sleeping. Did you know one of the best things you can do to reduce sleep-related stress is to take the pressure off and embrace the fact that some nights will be worse than others? If you’re looking for tips on how to sleep better, check out our article Preparing For A Better Night's Sleep.

To learn more about the symptoms of sleep deprivation, read on.

Immediate effects of sleep deprivation

Let’s start with the short-term effects of sleepless nights. After a night or two of poor or little sleep, you may notice a reduction in your performance overall and might start to feel the physical and mental toll it takes. Here’s what you could expect:

Irritability – your patience and tolerance wear thin.

Lack of motivation – you may feel more ‘lazy’ and less inclined to look after yourself.

Impaired memory – while sleep-deprived, it’s harder to encode (store away) and recall (bring forth) information.

Reduced reaction times – being tired can have the same effects as a blood alcohol content of 0.05 (the maximum legal driving limit!).

Poor decision-making – your ability to think things through rationally is impacted, and you might find it hard to make good decisions or make decisions at all. 

Reduced alertness, attention span and judgement.

It doesn’t sound overly fun, right? That’s okay – you can often catch up on a night or two of bad rest by sticking to the same sleep and wake times, avoiding screens before bed, and possibly taking a 10 to 30-minute nap in the early afternoon. 

When sleep deprivation becomes an ongoing thing, the effects can become more significant. The short-term effects listed above can increase in severity, and your body can start to suffer physically too.

Long-term effects of sleep deprivation

Your immune system can weaken, and without the chance to recharge, you are more at risk of developing chronic illnesses.

Your digestive system will eventually suffer, leaving you craving sugar and fat and possibly being uncomfortable with gastric problems. Sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain.

Your cardiovascular system is under more strain, and you could be at higher risk of high blood pressure.

Whether you’ve got one off-night to catch up on or a history of poor sleep, it could be impacting your well-being and even others’ well-being too. Being sleep-deprived can increase the risk of making mistakes, like at work, cooking, or on the road. It can also make you moody, impacting your mental health, relationships, and interactions. 

You can learn more about the positives of quality sleep in our article Celebrating World Sleep Day, and learn more about common sleep disorders here. If you’re struggling with sleep, you can try RESCUE® Sleep and mindfulness, and please seek the support of a doctor, mental health professional or sleep specialist for help with ongoing issues. RESCUE Sleep® contains a calming and balancing mix of flower essences, including white chestnut which helps to quiet those worrying night-time thoughts. 

Sweet dreams. From, Rescue.