Effects of Lack of Sleep: What Happens if You Don’t Sleep Well?

Sleep is one of the best gifts that God has given to human beings and many of us waste this gift by not realizing the importance of sleep; I have often seen that, when someone tries to follow a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly or eating well, they tend to take their sleep very lightly by working very late in the night or watching a marathon of their favorite TV shows on weekends. We do not realize that among the healthy lifestyle choices which we want to adopt, restful sleep and a proper sleep routine always tops the list. It is important to get at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night; otherwise all other efforts of adopting a healthy lifestyle by exercising or following a good diet are not that beneficial without following a proper sleep schedule. We should make our sleep a priority in our choices of following a healthy life.

Effects of Lack of Sleep: What Happens if You Don’t Sleep Well?

So, this is what happens if you don’t sleep well and ignore sleep:

Effects of Lack of Sleep: What Happens if You Don’t Sleep Well?

Effect of Lack of Sleep #1: You Become Accident Prone if You Don’t Sleep Well

People who do not get sufficient sleep daily, i.e. less than 6 hours, are three times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident. The most vulnerable people who fall into this category are: commercial drivers, shift workers, business travelers and anyone who works long and odd hours. If you have not had sufficient sleep, then you should avoid driving and operating heavy machinery to be on the safe side.

Effect of Lack of Sleep #2: Cognitive Impairment

Even if we miss one single night of sleep, we suffer from lot of cognitive deficits. A person who suffers from lack of sleep finds it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand, has increased forgetfulness, problems with reasoning and decision-making and lack of alertness during the day.

Effects of Lack of Sleep #3: Lowered Immunity & Frequently Falling Sick

If you don’t sleep well, you will impair the ability of the body to fight illnesses and increases the risk of falling sick more. According to studies, it has been discovered the there is a reciprocal relationship between our immune system and sleep.

#4 Effect of Lack of Sleep on Skin: Skin Aging

Lack of sleep has a drastic effect on our looks, skin and makes us look older than our age. Sleep deprivation leads to increased wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and looseness/laxity of the skin. A restful night’s sleep keeps our skin looking fresh and glowing.

Effect of Lack of Sleep #5: Weight Gain

This is one of the lesser known facts that lack of sleep leads to weight gain. Individuals who don’t sleep well or who slept less than 5 hours every night were more likely to gain weight and become obese later on.

#6 Effect of Lack of Sleep on the Heart: Heart Problems

If you don’t sleep well, it is likely to have a negative impact on our heart health. People who sleep less than 5 hours have a risk of developing heart problems, such as coronary heart disease or stroke.

Effect of Lack of Sleep #7: Increased Risk of Diabetes

Along with an increase in the girth from lack of sleep, people who don’t sleep well are at an increased risk for developing adult-onset diabetes. It is important to get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep to avoid insulin issues.

Effect of Lack of Sleep #8: Increased Risk of Cancer

Lack of sleep is shown to be linked with increased rates of breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. People who work in overnight shifts are at increased risk for this.

#9 Effect of Lack of Sleep on Learning & Memory

Sleep deprivation leads to making a person forgetful. According to studies, sleep has a great impact on learning and memory. Sleep is very essential for consolidating the things that we learn into our brain. Getting proper sleep helps in retaining new information and committing it to memory.

#10 Effect of Lack of Sleep on Sex Drive

If you don’t sleep well then you are likely to see a decrease in your libido. There was a decrease seen in the testosterone levels of young men who were sleep deprived. Sleeping less than 5 hours decreases the levels of sex hormone by around 10 to 15 %.


We refer to our sleep casually, such as getting our beauty sleep, but we have to understand that it is more than that. It is important to get the right amount and quality of sleep to lead a good and healthy life. So, before going for an all-nighter for studying, or partying or watching TV shows, just remember that sufficient sleep can save our life in the long run. So just switch off those lights and settle down for at least 8 hours of rest and sleep daily, every night, be it weekday or weekends, without fail.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 12, 2017

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