Special Report

21 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

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6. More pain

Anyone who has ever been in pain and tried to fall asleep knows pain disturbs sleep. The relationship between pain and insufficient sleep is now seen as reciprocal: lack of sleep on a regular basis can lower a person’s pain tolerance. It can also interfere with treatments involving pain killers.

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7. Aging skin

The skin refreshes itself and tightens up during sleep. Poor sleepers are more likely to have skin that shows signs of aging, such as fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening, and less elasticity. They recover more slowly after damaging sun exposure, according to a study.

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8. Weight gain

Sleep loss can disturb energy expenditure because of its effect on leptin, an appetite suppressor, and ghrelin, an appetite increaser, according to a study. Less leptin and more ghrelin explain why sleep-deprived participants were hungry more often and why they had higher Body Mass Index (BMI). People who did not get a lot of sleep prefer sweet substances, Shukla noted, as well as junk food, which is high in fat, salt, and sugar, all of which can lead to weight gain.

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9. Slow metabolism

A person’s metabolism will not function properly if they are sleep-deprived. Evidence has suggested that sleep loss has a significant influence on metabolism by altering glucose metabolism and decreasing leptin and increasing ghrelin, Shukla noted. Both hormones are involved in regulating metabolism.

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10. Microsleeps

Microsleeps, which are very short periods of light sleep that occur during monotonous tasks, are not uncommon among sleep-deprived people but they are very dangerous, especially if you’re driving a car or operating heavy machinery, according to Tal. “This is the body’s attempt at getting some sleep.” They are usually caused by extreme fatigue and are “uncontrollable,” he added.