A missed night of sleep is a fairly common experience for young people, new parents, and all kinds of busy adults. And while sometimes it’s because you’re having fun (New Year’s Eve!) and other times it’s because you must (an infant in the house), the end result of a sleepless night is the same: Your body has been deprived of an essential component for good health and energy.
Most adults do best with between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but nearly 30 percent get less than six, and some occasionally miss a night entirely, resulting in a slow accumulation of sleep debt that can affect your appearance, your immune system, and even the way your brain functions. Read on to discover a few of the ways a sleepless night affects your body.
Puffy eyes and a pasty complexion aren’t what you want to see when you wake up in the morning, but your appearance can be affected when you get too little sleep. Missing a night’s sleep can cause fluid to accumulate below your eyes, leading to circles and swelling.
Lack of sleep changes the way your body interprets hunger signals, leaving you with cravings that can be hard to control. In fact, women who sleep five hours or less a night are 15 percent more likely to become obese during the next decade.
Missing a night of sleep increases the likelihood that you will feel forgetful or experience slow reaction times, which can result in small mistakes (typos on a work presentation) or very big ones (impaired driving).
An itchy, drippy nose is another potential side effect of a missed night of sleep. Your immune system may also be affected, leaving you more susceptible to colds.
Fatigue is a big factor when it comes to being in the mood for sex. In National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, about a third of women say they put sexual activity with their partner on the back burner when they are sleep-deprived.
A single night without sleep isn’t usually a big deal, but over time, these occasional lapses can lead to more serious conditions. Longer term, too little sleep may contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. The big takeaway here to a healthy life is to strive to practice good sleep habits, including getting to bed on time.