For those suffering from insomnia, sleep is elusive; perhaps as a result of stress, apnea, or chronic pain. And then there is sleep deprivation: the desire and ability to sleep are present but, for whatever reason, something or someone is getting in the way of you having a date with your pillow. There are many reasons why one may be sleep deprived – from taking care of a newborn baby to making a deadline at work, to pulling the midnight shift. And for a while, things may be fine, until they aren’t. That’s because over time, sleep deprivation can have some serious effects on your health and wellness. Here is how sleep deprivation can affect you.
Sleep Deprivation and Physical Health
Sleep permits our bodies to reset and rejuvenate. Sleep deprivation impacts our immune system, making it harder to ward off disease and leaving us vulnerable to illnesses that an otherwise healthy immune system can suppress. In fact, people who do not get enough sleep get more colds and cases of flu than those who get the recommended amount of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain; in fact, people who get less than 5 hours of sleep per night have a 50% greater risk of obesity. They also are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health
The brain needs rest, too, and depriving our brains of that rest can result in moodiness, stress, anxiety, and risky behaviors. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression and impulsivity; it can also affect one’s sex drive and functioning, which can result in feelings of inadequacy. It can add stress to personal and professional relationships.
Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive Health
The impact of sleep deprivation can be felt when trying to concentrate at school or work, focusing on complex tasks, or remembering important information and details. When we are sleep deprived, we are more at risk of carelessness and accidents that can put us in harm’s way; it can impact the safety of those around us.
Sleep Deprivation in Children
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation on a child’s developing brain can be especially concerning, manifesting in medical and sociological implications now and possible negative outcomes later on. Sleep deprivation in children can impact academic performance, as well as increase risk of injury and accident during sports. For teens just learning to drive, sleep deprivation — even just two to three hours less than usual — quadruples their risk of having a car accident. In infants and toddlers, sleep deprivation can impact their language, social, cognitive, and/or behavioral development.
Overcoming Sleep Deprivation with Rockville Concierge Doctors
When you are sleep deprived, it’s hard to get back on track. That’s where Rockville Concierge Doctors can help. If you have issues sleeping and want personal primary care doctors who will truly listen and spend the proper time meeting with you and answering all your questions, then consider Rockville Concierge Doctors. Unfamiliar with concierge medicine? Request a complimentary meet and greet by calling us at (301) 545-1811, or request an appointment online to get to know our doctors and a practice that was named Bethesda Magazine’s Reader’s Pick for Best Primary Care Practice.