Effects of sleep deprivation

By now we all know that not getting enough sleep could have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, as well as your day to day activities.

In this blog post, we will have a look at just a few of the effects which sleep deprivation can have on you.

Memory issues

Memory lossResearchers have found that during sleep, important brain waves are produced which play a vital role in the storing of memories. During sleep your brain forms connections that help you consolidate and recall certain information. There are different types of memories - some are fact related, some are based on events in your life and some memories are procedural, such as how to ride a bike or play an instrument. 

In order to remember information, 3 functions must occur, namely:

1.  Acquisition - Learning or experiencing something new while you are awake.

2.  Consolidation - during certain sleep cycles, new information is processed and consolidated. So it is basically then moved from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

3.  Recall - remembering what you learned or experienced at any given time.

Taking these facts into consideration, you'll realise that pulling an all-nighter before an important exam, for instance, is a definite no-no as you will probably not be able to recall most of what you have learned if you did not get an adequate amount of quality sleep. So when it comes to learning and remembering new things, remember - sleep is your friend!

Sleep deprivation and the workplace

Sleep deprived at workA lack of sleep will impact your general performance in the workplace as it will affect your concentration, creativity and general problem-solving skills. In addition, you will have a difficult time learning new skills and communicating with your colleagues.

When you are tired and sleepy you tend to be moody and less tolerant of co-workers, making you more prone to outbursts and unnecessary arguments. These outbursts and arguments could impact the entire company, making for an unfavourable working environment.

Lack of sleep can make you fat

How is it possible that sleep deprivation can make you fat, you may ask? Well, your body releases certain hormones when you sleep that regulates your appetite. Messing with this balance might make you feel hungrier than usual and as a result you will eat more than needed.

On the other hand, when you are tired and sleepy, most people tend to grab a coffee with sugar or a sweet snack for a quick shot of energy. This energy boost will probably not last long and again your be craving junk food like chocolates or whatever your poison is.

In both cases, you tend to overeat which will, in turn, make you gain weight. It's sad but it's true!

Sleep and beauty

Beauty sleepYes, beauty sleep is indeed a thing! When we sleep our body rests, replenishes and regenerates. The same goes for your skin. During your second stage of sleep, known as delta sleep, hormone levels peak and it is during this time that skin cells are repaired. So, any damage that has been done to the skin that could contribute to premature aging is repaired during this phase. When we don't sleep enough, those cells are not repaired properly, which leads to premature aging.

To find out more about what beauty sleep is and some general tips and tricks to keep up your youthful appearance, pop on over our blog post.

Other general health issues related to sleep deprivation

Besides affecting your memory, work performance and looks, sleep deprivation has also been linked to many other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.


Sleep deprivation prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin, which controls your blood sugar level when you eat. These higher levels of insulin promote fat storage and also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

High blood pressure

During sleep, our blood regulates stress hormones and helps your nervous system to remain healthy. Over time, it is thought that a lack of sleep could hinder your body's ability to regulate stress hormones, which in turn will lead to high blood pressure.

Weakened immune system

When we sleep, our bodies release special proteins and when we have an infection or inflammation, these proteins need to increase in order to fight the infection. In addition, antibodies, which are also necessary to fight the infection or inflammation, are reduced when you do not get enough sleep. So basically you tend to get sick more often when you don't get enough sleep, as your body is not equipped to fight the illness. Now you know that your mom's advice to try and get as much sleep as possible when you were ill, was pretty much spot on!


When it comes to effects of sleep deprivation, we can probably write a book, seeing that there are so many negative effects that a lack of sleep has on your physical health, mental performance as well as your psychological state. The topics discussed in this blog post are only some of the concerns.

If you think that you might have a sleep disorder, the best would be to speak to your doctor, who would be able to determine the cause and advise accordingly.

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