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Have you noticed how one bout of sleepless night sorely affects your entire day? The way it makes you exhausted, restless and cranky? Well, simply put these are only some of the mild effects that lack of sleep can have on your health. The long-term harm of not getting 7-9 hours of sleep can be very adverse. Sleep deprivation can cause some serious mental health problems, not to mention, a number of other health problems that has been linked to it. From mood swings to lack of focus to even a weakened immunity, the risks are endless.

Before going to its affects, lets see what actually causes sleepless nights or insomnia.

  • What causes sleep deprivation?

Getting less than 7 hours of sleep or even low quality of sleep causes sleep deprivation. This could also be because of an underlying sleep disorder. Caffeine consumption is also one of the leading causes of insomnia. Its ironic, because most people consume coffee to get rid of sleepiness, so they can be alert and focus on their work, which in turn causes sleeplessness and makes sleeping even more difficult. Its a vicious cycle of insomnia that has gripped a lot of the general population.

For a more detailed study of causes, effects and importance of sleep, one useful reference is a book by Mathew Walker, PhD called Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. 

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Signs of Sleep deprivation.

Some of the mild signs and symptoms of daytime fatigue, irritability, frequent yawning, excessive sleepiness and sleep deprivation. While some of the more adversely affected people of chronic sleep deprivation show signs of suicidal thoughts, paranoia, depression, anxiety and impulsive behavior. Some people even end up experiencing bouts of micro-sleeping. This means they can go into sleep-like trances during daytime without realizing it. These kinds of sleeping episodes can take you unawares because you have no control over it. This is a serious risk especially if it happens during driving or while operating heavy machinery, leading to accidents and severe injuries.

Dangers of Insomnia:

A human body needs sleep just as much as it needs food and oxygen to survive. Lack of either of these things is likely to affect the way your body functions.

Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for a lot of chronic conditions, some of which are listed below:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Chronic Lung Illness
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Hallucinations

A 2010 study showed that long term effects of lack of sleep involve a lower quality of life and in most cases, a risk of early death. One study also linked it with heart attacks and strokes. It affects all your body systems, be it respiratory, digestive, central nervous system as well as your immune system.