What is the Connection Between Sleep Deprivation and Health Problems?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 December 2018
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The research done on sleep deprivation and health problems indicates that there is in fact a connection between the two. A lack of sleep can contribute to poor mental functions such as a poor memory, depression and other mood disorders. It also can contribute to obesity, heart disease and a weakened immune system. The studies done on sleep deprivation and health problems indicate that both acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation can rob the mind and body of vital health.

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, night terror and insomnia are often the cause of sleep deprivation. Studies show that it can stunt fetal growth as well as growth in children. It has been linked to a higher mortality rate, muscle cramping, fatigue, bloodshot eyes and headaches.

According to the research done on sleep deprivation and health problems, the mind is severely affected when the body does not receive proper rest. The ability to remember new information and cognitive function is greatly reduced, thus resulting in confusion, hallucinations, depression, bipolar and other mood disorders. Studies also show that sleep deprivation can result in similar impairment as that of alcohol consumption. As with alcohol, sleep deprivation impairs moral judgment and can dramatically slow down reaction time, which could result in deadly accidents.


Heart disease is another connection to sleep deprivation, and it often results in high blood pressure and in an irregular heartbeat. In more severe cases, it also can result in a stroke or heart attack. Even a slight reduction in sleep has been linked to an increased risk of artery calcification, a condition that can lead to a heart attack.

Another connection between sleep deprivation and health problems is that the hormones can become imbalanced, which can result in higher stress levels and weight gain. Even babies who have shorter sleeping spans have been found to be more likely to gain excess weight during their childhood. A lack of sleep also interferes with the way the body responds to glucose, thus increasing the risk for diabetes.

Studies done on sleep deprivation and health problems have revealed that a lack of sleep can also weaken and impair the immune system. Those who have been deprived of sleep have been found to be more than twice as likely to suffer from a cold as those who have received their normal amount of sleep. An impaired immune system is less likely to fight off infections caused by viruses and bacteria.



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