What Does Sleep Deprivation Do To Our Bodies?

We are told that ensuring that we get enough beauty sleep, usually between seven and eight hours is important for our health.

Yet we have all at some point in our lives probably experienced the frustration of not being sleep properly. The results are most certainly felt the next day when you are sitting at your work desk feeling groggy, lethargic and unable to concentrate properly or remain focused.

However research has also shown sleep deprivation can have more serious effects on our body than just making us feel sorry for ourselves and sluggish.

So let us now take a look at just how important getting your full quota of sleep every night really is in order to help maintain a healthy body.


Prolong Ageing

One of the ways that our bodies may be affected by sleep deprivation is that the ageing process may be activated.

We don’t mean that one night of disrupted sleep will cause you to wake up with older looking skin and a sudden increase of grey hairs; however a study conducted by Judith Carroll, assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioural science at the UCLA Cousins Centre for Psychoneuroimmunology in Los Angeles found that the ageing process may be quickened by not getting enough sleep.

The study which was published on the Daily Mail Online included 29 adults who underwent four nights of partial sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation conditions included on night one, having to adapt to the new environment, the second night was uninterrupted, the third night restricted sleep between certain hours and the fourth was uninterrupted.

Each participant had blood samples taken from them the morning after in order to measure peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression, the blood cell that plays an important part in the effectiveness of the immune systems to fight off infection.

The study revealed that even just one night of partial sleep deprivation caused the activation of gene patterns in PBMC, which also displayed consistent results with a build of damaging cells that could disturb or end the cycle of the cell.

Dr Carroll quoted, “’Our data support the hypothesis that one night of not getting enough sleep in older adults activates important biological pathways that promote biological ageing”.

Therefore making sure that you are a getting the right of sleep every night will help to prolong the ageing process, meaning that there really could be some truth behind the saying ‘get your beauty sleep’!


Strengthen Your Immune System

Another one of the ways that a disrupted night’s sleep may impact your health is regarding your bodies defence mechanism for fighting off infection, the immune system.

During sleep, our immune system produces protective cytokines and special antibodies and cells to fight infection which helps to get rid of unwanted bacteria and viruses targeting your body.

The cytokines also perform the role of helping you to sleep which then gives your immune system the energy to be be able to fight off infection.

An article looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on the body published on Healthline highlight the issue that not getting enough limits the opportunity for your immune system to restore and strengthen itself.

The Mayo Clinic say that according to research, your body will not be able to fight off infection as effectively, and the time taken to recover after illness will be longer if your body is not getting the right amount of sleep.


Help Prevent Health Conditions

In the long term, continual sleep deprivation has also demonstrated evidence of increasing the risk of developing chronic diabetes.

Healthy Sleep, discussing the hidden costs of insufficient sleep, say that people who are receiving less than five hours sleep at night are at a higher risk of developing or having type 2 diabetes.

Further research studies, for example one study found on the American Diabetes Association has shown that increasing sleep can help to improve blood sugar levels and reduce some of the effects associated with type two diabetes.

The National Sleep Foundation also highlight the association between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease.

Without your body being to experience long and deep restful periods of sleep, chemicals in the body are then activated which prevents the body from achieving longer periods for the heart rate and blood pressure to lower.

Over a long period of time, this could lead to high blood pressure in the daytime and ultimately result in cardiovascular disease.

In conclusion, getting enough sleep will not only help you to feel brighter and more energised, but in the long term, ensuring that you’re getting regular and good quality night’s sleep will help to maintain a healthy body that is able to perform effectively and help prevent illness.