8 Ways a Lack of Sleep Affects Your Whole Body

woman in field

Why Sleep Is Important for Overall Health

Did you know that one of the most important things you can do to improve your whole-body health is to get more sleep? The quality and quantity of sleep you get directly impact your physical body and your mental health drastically. When you get quality sleep every night, this impact is positive, but if a lack of sleep occurs, your health can take a negative turn.

Sleep is an essential function of our bodies.

Digestion, respiration, and reproduction are a few examples of essential bodily functions. When these systems don’t work properly, it spells trouble for the rest of our bodies. Many people don’t realize that sleep is also an essential function and is equally important.

With a lack of sleep, our brains and bodies couldn’t do their jobs. Our physical and mental capabilities would gradually become limited or even nonexistent. We would be vulnerable to illness and disease as well as accidents caused by impaired brain function and judgment. Though it may seem dramatic, sleep deprivation truly can be a life-threatening health condition. 

Common Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

A lack of sleep occurs when you frequently get less than seven to nine hours of quality, restful sleep every night. If you’re sleep deprived, you might experience these frequently cited symptoms:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating on simple tasks
  • Memory issues
  • Physical weakness
  • Frequent illness
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent mistakes

Since we all have individual needs, some adults may feel as though they only need four or five hours of nightly sleep. However, the truth is you don’t necessarily need to feel tired to be sleep deprived. You may feel awake, but the health ramifications of sleep deprivation are still occurring in your body and brain.

What Can Cause Sleep Deprivation To Occur

There are many causes of a lack of sleep, and it’s possible for multiple factors to be in effect at the same time.

Here are the most common reasons for sleep deprivation:

  • Environmental disturbances: lights in the bedroom, noisy streets, or a crying baby
  • Underlying sleep disorder: insomnia or restless leg syndrome
  • Underlying medical conditions: dementia, diabetes, arthritis, or back pain
  • Side effects from medication: restlessness resulting from some medication or supplements
  • Stimulation from diet: too much sugar or caffeine
  • Undiagnosed sleep apnea: a common sleep disorder characterized by snoring
  • Discomfort from TMD or bruxism: dental issues that often occur during sleep

You’ll work together with your doctor and dentist to find the underlying cause of your sleep deprivation.

What a Lack Of Sleep Does to Physical and Mental Health

Chronic sleep deprivation throws off the natural cycle of our bodies, and the results go beyond lethargy.

You’re also at a greater risk of:

  1. Developing serious illness or disease: Heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and illnesses such as pneumonia are all more likely to occur.
  2. Injuring yourself due to impaired judgment: Sleep deprivation makes driving, operating machinery, and performing other tasks dangerous.
  3. Experiencing a major cardiovascular event: Impaired oxygen and circulation means you’re at greater risk of a stroke or heart attack.
  4. Developing depression or anxiety: The mental toll of sleep deprivation can lead to clinical depression, anxiety, and hallucinations.
  5. Developing an inflammatory disease: Lack of sleep causes inflammation within the body, leading to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.
  6. Harming relationships: Forgetfulness, moodiness, and irritability can put stress on your personal relationships as well as your career.
  7. Exacerbating existing health conditions: Nearly all health conditions are more difficult to treat and control if sleep deprivation is present.
  8. Struggling to maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight takes an additional toll on your physical health and your overall well-being.

If you are experiencing a lack of sleep, it’s incredibly important to take immediate action to get it under control. 

Laurel Manor SleepCare can help you unlock quality, restful sleep.

Have you ever heard of sleep dentistry? This unique form of dental care encompasses both your oral health and your overall health. Dr. Rozensky and his team can work with three common causes of a lack of sleep, all of which begin in the mouth.

TMD Relief

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) typically causes pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ pain can range from barely noticeable to quite severe, and many patients with TMD may experience increased discomfort while sleeping. Even if you don’t remember any sleep disruptions, TMD pain can keep you from achieving full, restful sleep.

Bruxism Relief

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is another painful problem that typically occurs during sleep. Bruxism can be a symptom of TMD, or it can be an independent issue. Bruxism can not only impact your sleep but also cause permanent damage to your teeth.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) tends to be underdiagnosed because many adults believe nightly snoring is normal, when in reality it’s often a sign of airway blockage. Sleep dentistry can help direct you to a sleep clinic that can diagnose your OSA and provide a solution, such as a sleep apnea mask.

Book your consultation.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a lack of sleep, sleep apnea, TMD, or bruxism, we’re here to help. Take your first step toward restored sleep and book an evaluation with Dr. Rozensky by requesting an appointment online or calling our office, conveniently located in The Villages, Florida.