Friday, January 31, 2014

How a Restless Night Impacts Your Day

It’s likely that you’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep at least once before. The effects of not sleeping can vary widely and depend on how long and how often you are sleep deprived within a certain period of time. Restless nights, whether acute or chronic, can negatively impact your day, and more seriously your health, on mental, emotional and physical levels.

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation:


  • Memory Loss- REM sleep plays a crucial role in cognitive function and without it the brain’s ability to consolidate memories, learn daily tasks, and make decisions is severely impaired.
  • Drowsiness and Delayed Reaction Time- severe sleep deprivation can mimic the effects of drinking alcohol and can include symptoms such as slurred speech, shakiness of the hands and poor coordination. It is estimated that fatigue causes 100,000 car accidents and 1,550 crash-related deaths per year.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Pain- Research studies have shown that when sleep deprived, sensitivity to both heat and pressure pain increases.


  • Inability to Cope with Stress- Research studies have shown that even slight sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on mood. Lack of sleep causes people to become stressed more easily, feel the effects of stress sooner and become less able to deal with stress in positive ways.
  • Irritability and Anger- Sleep and mood are closely connected so when you don’t get enough sleep your mood is almost always going to be negatively impacted. During sleep, our brain gets a healthy dose of oxygen through deep breathing. Missing this opportunity diminishes the amount of oxygen exchange happening in the brain and negatively impacts mood the following day.
  • Depression- Chronic sleep deprivation greatly increases your risk for depression because of increased amygdala activity. The amygdala is a structure in the brain elemental to experiences of negative emotions such as anger and rage.


  • A Weakened Immune System- Although not a symptom that you will notice immediately, not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of getting sick. Prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked with diminished immune functions so missing out on a good night’s sleep can leave you susceptible to sickness.
  • Weight Gain- Without sleep, it becomes more difficult for the body to control blood sugar levels and process leptin, a hormone that works to regulate metabolism and appetite. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Low Energy Levels- This is the most common symptom associated with not getting enough sleep. Sleepiness is a physical symptom demonstrated by a propensity to fall asleep or trouble staying awake during the day.
  • Tension and Headaches- REM sleep is the body’s time to rebuild and repair, especially the soft tissues that make up the body such as muscles and connective tissues. When the body misses out on this essential strengthening period, muscular soreness and tension occurs and often leads to headaches.

There is not a single doubt that sleep deprivation can negatively impact your day and put you are risk for serious, chronic health conditions. If you are having trouble sleeping, be sure to take the steps necessary to get you closer to a better night’s sleep. For some people, this can be as simple as tweaking their diet, changing their pre-bedtime routine, or finding easy stop-snoring solutions. Visit us at for more information on snoring, how it affects your health and how to stop it.

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