10 Deadly Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

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  • 11 Jan 2024
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Having trouble sleeping? I understand; I, too, have suffered with sleep, believe it or not. The fact is that sleep is essential, and a lack of sleep may have a variety of detrimental consequences. But I also get how, when everything is peaceful and no one else is awake, the evening may be the perfect time to unwind, catch up on your favorite shows, get some work or chores done, or simply finally enjoy some quiet "me" time while you mindlessly cruise through social media.

Maybe you're trying to sleep, but your mind keeps thinking about what you have to do tomorrow and what you didn't get done today. You're not sleeping in either case. Is it truly worth sacrificing your physical and emotional health by not sleeping? Continue reading to discover out.

According to a Usui attuned and educated Reiki Level II practitioner, our life is made up of four bodies: the physical body (biological/physiological), the mental body (thoughts), the emotional body (feelings), and the spiritual body (energy, i.e. our Chakra System). As a healing coach, I educate my clients that when stresses arise or we treat any of the four bodies poorly and neglect fundamental needs and self-care, it may show as actual illnesses or disease in any of the four bodies, particularly our physical vessel. This is why self-care is so essential.

Giving our physical bodies what they require is part of self-care. As a qualified former psychotherapist and Licensed Social Worker, I know that when we look at Maslow's Hierarchy of demands, our physiological demands are at the bottom and base of the pyramid and consist of necessary for our core functioning. To view the genuine pyramid, conduct a fast Google image search. Psychological requirements are at the bottom of the pyramid, immediately behind safety needs. Food/nutrition, shelter, water, air/oxygen, clothes, and, of course, sleep are the fundamentals of our physiological demands.

Consider this: your house, apartment, or construction cannot endure itself without a good foundation. If there are problems with the foundation or basement, it might affect the entire structure. If you own a home, you are aware that structural damage to the foundation or anything interfering with the foundation of your home can be damaging to its overall existence and longevity. In this situation, our body is no exception. This is why we must provide our bodies with the necessities, just as we provide gasoline and gas to our cars and reboot our phones or computers when they need to be turned down or restarted.

Our bodies require sleep in order to function properly. Sleep deprivation may have a negative influence on your general health and lifespan, as well as catastrophic or even fatal consequences.

So, how does sleep deprivation affect the four bodies? Here are the 10 fatal consequences of a lack of sleep.

1. Poor Immune System

Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to sickness, chronic medical diseases, and mental health exacerbations, especially if you already suffer from mental illness, are immunocompromised, or have an autoimmune disease. If you find yourself becoming ill frequently and sleeping poorly, get medical attention and boost your consumption of any herbal treatments that may help the immune system, such as Vitamin C.

2. Poor Physical Health

Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of several chronic medical diseases, including heart disease and respiratory problems. Thyroid difficulties have also been related to poor sleep because the body does not produce the required hormones for healthy thyroid functioning, which can affect the entire body, not only our physical health but also our spiritual health (Throat Chakra) and mental health.

When we sleep, our bodies get the rest they require so that critical hormone replenishment or other "behind the scenes" activities may take place.

3. Poor Productivity

Lack of attention and productivity as a result of poor sleep, including difficulties falling asleep, interrupted sleep, and problems remaining asleep, can have a significant impact on our total productivity during the day. It can cause brain fog, which indicates we are not fully fueling our commitments.

This also implies that it may impede progress in our tasks, and while it may not be fatal to our bodies, it can certainly be fatal to our finances if we lack laser concentration and productivity at work, eventually leading to job loss and financial difficulty.

4. Poor Mental and Emotional Health

As a former ER social worker, I saw personally how sleep deprivation may lead to poor mental health. This may be seen in individuals suffering from schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder II, when their mental health symptoms worsen as a result of poor sleep or a lack of sleep in and of itself, which can contribute to manic or crisis periods.

Poor sleep is a poison to the mental and emotional bodies if you already have an underlying mental health disorder or diagnosis, or if you have poor mental health hygiene. This can result in hallucinatory audio and visual hallucinations, confusion, skewed thinking, or delusions, which can lead to poor decision making, damage to oneself and others, or worse.

5. Sleep Disorders

Sleep deprivation can have an influence on our entire circadian rhythm's durability and function. This is one of the most serious consequences of sleep deprivation. This has an effect on us physically and emotionally, but it also increases our chances of developing more serious sleep concerns or disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia.

It is critical to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time in order to establish a natural sleep-wake cycle (similar to the sun and moon), which is ultimately helpful to your general health. Furthermore, if we do not get enough sleep, we might become addicted to stimulants or overconsume caffeine, sodas, and energy drinks to maintain our waking cycle, which is also bad for our health.

6. Forced Shut-Down

Have you ever had to blast music while driving because you were too exhausted to drive? I'm not sure who needs to hear this, but highway hypnosis is real, and when you're sleep-deprived, especially while driving at night, you're more likely to experience a forced shut-down of the body, akin to a prompt computer or phone shut-down.

As I wrote this, I recall a moment from the famous comedy film National Lampoon's Vacation in which Chevy Chase's character, Clark Griswold, falls asleep behind the wheel with his entire family in the car. While he was fortunate to avoid a collision or any other harm in this scene, in real life, this might be fatal. Driving when tired or fatigued is risky.

7. Increased Irritability or Anger

Have you ever been angry or unpleasant because you were hungry? I suppose the phrase is "hangry." We can certainly get more irritated when we are sleep deprived. Perhaps we could coin the term "slirritable"—when we feel irritable as a result of a lack of sleep?

Okay, joking aside, we must be aware of our impatience. This has an effect on the amygdala, which is responsible for how we manage our emotions and behave in times of perceived danger. When we don't sleep and become agitated, aroused, or upset, our "fight, flight, and freeze" reaction is naturally activated, influencing how we react to events and our impulse control.

When we are angry, we are more inclined to argue with individuals we care about, or worse, to engage in violent fights, which can be fatal to the relationship. Pause and breathe before reacting, or, as Will Smith says in the film Bad Boys 2, "woosah" and go get some rest!

8. Poor Memory

When we lack sleep, it affects our general memory recall and the portion of our brain that retains memories, making us more prone to making mistakes. This has happened to me directly in overworked nurses whose position is critical in keeping patients safe.

If you don't get enough sleep, it will affect your capacity to recall procedures, systems, structures, routines, and even fundamental dates, making you more prone to accidents and blunders. Depending on your field of work, being overworked and exhausted might be fatal. A single error may potentially cost a life and your job.

9. Weight Gain

If you're attempting to lose weight, it may be tough if you don't give your body time to relax. Our bodies are "burning the midnight oil" and working while we sleep, as they say. The body burns off calories that might aid boost weight reduction by using the fuel and nourishment we feed ourselves during the day.

Obesity or being underweight can lead to additional medical problems and chronic illnesses that can lead to death prematurely. As a result, it's critical that we allow our internal bodies to relax and "clock into" that graveyard shift while we really sleep.

10. Poor Libido

If nothing else I've said so far has motivated you to create SMART objectives to address your sleep troubles, having it effect your sex life could be precisely what you need. Yup! Sleep deprivation might reduce sex desire!

Poor sleep can have an influence on the generation of essential hormones that the body produces naturally to improve sex desire and libido. Lack of adequate hormone production as a result of sleep problems can then lead to severe sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile dysfunction disorder or infertility, and even mood problems—all of which can cause problems for you and your partner(s), both in and out of the bedroom, and even strain relationships.

Final Thoughts

Finally, as a spiritual and intuitive healer, mindfulness advocate, and yoga instructor, I'll add this: sleep is necessary for our spiritual body, especially now that we know the consequences of sleep deprivation.

We ground down, reset, and connect to our subconscious self, higher self, and inner knowing while we sleep. More crucially, we fantasize. Some people think that we may travel in our dreams, experience visits from loved ones who have transitioned and gone away, and even receive guidance and messages. We let go, rest, and heal all four bodies. It's no surprise that when we're sick or injured, our bodies push us to sleep. Allow yourself to accept your final pause—the permission to sleep.

If you're having trouble sleeping or following your evening rituals, get help from your medical and mental health specialists to promote optimal health in all four bodies. Referrals for sleep testing might assist support any underlying medical cause of your sleep difficulties or troubles. A mental health professional can also assist you with your sleep challenges and demands.

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