Tips For Better Sleep

Can You Get Ill From Not Sleeping Enough?

December 27, 2023   By JM Carpiso

Sleep is one of the most essential things that us humans need to survive. If we do no have enough sleep, we will surely get sick and die. Unfortunately, many of us do not get the required number of hours of sleep daily. And some of us do get the hours but are still unable to rest properly as they sleep. 

So, can you get ill from not sleeping enough? The answer is yes. 

Let us look at why sleep is so important and why we get ill without it. 

Why Do We Need To Sleep?

a woman sleeping on the airport floor

Sleep is a crucial element of human existence, taking up a large portion of our time. The need for sleep has captivated philosophers, doctors, scientists and almost anyone for many years now. 

Without enough sleep we do not function and too much of it makes us feel lethargic. We can go on longer without food but not without sleep. Sleep is truly amazing and it helps us stay alive. So let us look at the reasons why us humans sleep.

1. Recovery and restoration

Sleep is an important time for the body to repair and revitalise itself. Sleep restores tissues, repairs muscles and strengthens our immune system. This normally happens during our REM Sleep or deep sleep moments. This healing process is critical for general physical health and well-being.

If you are training and going to the gym, you need sleep to recover. You also need sleep to help you with your work and daily grind. Without sleep, you can have bad fitness days.

2. Memory Retention

One of the notable effects of sleep is its participation in memory consolidation. The brain consolidates learning and experiences by processing and storing information received throughout the day. This occurs primarily during the rapid eye movement (REM) period of sleep.

3. Cognitive Performance and Function

Sleep is critical for cognitive skills like attention, problem solving, and decision making. Adequate sleep promotes creativity and good brain function, which contributes to enhanced performance in a variety of daily duties.

4. Emotional Control

Sleep and emotional well-being go hand in hand. It aids in mood regulation, stress management, and emotional processing. Sleep deprivation might result in increased emotional reactivity and less resistance to life’s hardships. This basically means we get very cranky when we don’t sleep.

5. Hormonal Harmony

a disheveled looking man after no sleep

Sleep affects the release of hormones such as growth hormone, cortisol, and insulin. These hormones are necessary for growth, stress response, and metabolic balance. Sleep disruptions can disrupt the delicate balance of these hormones, compromising general health.

Most people who lack sleep can get diabetes, cancer or heart problems. 

6. Conserving Energy

Sleep, contrary to popular belief, is a state of active energy conservation. The body’s metabolic rate slows during sleep, and energy is allocated to vital tasks such as cellular repair and growth. This conservation guarantees that resources are used efficiently the following day. And this is the very reason why we feel really tired and slow when we lack sleep. 

7. Immune System Aid

A healthy immune system requires adequate and high-quality sleep. Sleep promotes the production and release of cytokines, proteins that play an important role in immunological response. This improves the body’s ability to combat infections and illnesses.

So if you’ve noticed getting more colds easily when you haven’t slept well, then that’s because your immune system is slowing down.

8. Hormonal Development and Growth in Children

Sleep is especially important for children’s growth and development. Growth hormone is mostly released during deep sleep, contributing to physical development, and sleep also promotes central nervous system maturation.

Simply put,sleep keeps us alive, happy, pretty and revitalised. Without it, we will get weak and suffer. Our bodily functions need it in order for us to grow and survive. For kids, no sleep means they would not grow to their proper height and may cause them to be underweight as well.

Can You Get Sick When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

A woman blowing her nose

Because of the hustle culture, sleep is frequently sacrificed for the sake of increased productivity. But what if not getting enough sleep not only makes you exhausted, but also makes you more prone to illness? 

1. The Sleep-Immune System Connection

There is a very tight connection between sleep and your immune system. The body creates cytokines, substances that play an important role in immune response, when sleeping. Sleep deprivation can upset this delicate balance, thereby weakening the body’s immune system. So again, with the getting sick bit when you lack sleep.

2. Increased Infection Vulnerability

According to research, persistent sleep deprivation may raise the probability of falling sick. Individuals who do not get enough sleep are more susceptible to diseases such as the common cold and flu, according to studies. When sleep is continuously insufficient, the immune system’s ability to mount a strong defence is impaired. This means you get weaker and feel worse when a virus or bacteria attacks your body.

3. Immune Cell Production is Reduced:

Sleep deprivation can have an effect on the development of white blood cells, such as T cells and natural killer cells, which are necessary for fighting viruses and germs. A well-rested body produces a more powerful army of immune cells ready to fight off invaders.

4. Chronic Diseases and Inflammatory Responses

Sleep deprivation can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body, which can contribute to the development of chronic illnesses. Chronic inflammation has been related to a variety of health problems, ranging from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune illnesses and even cancer can hit the body if you perennially don’t sleep. 

5. Reduced Vaccination and Immunity Reaction

a woman with a breathing aid

Getting enough sleep is essential to the effectiveness of vaccinations. Research has demonstrated that people with enough sleep had a stronger immune response to immunizations, resulting in increased antibody production. This emphasises how crucial sleep is to maximising the body’s capacity to develop immunity.

6. Hormone Stress and Sleep

Stress chemicals like cortisol can rise as a result of sleep deprivation. Short-term spikes in these hormones are necessary, but prolonged elevation brought on by sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system and increase the body’s susceptibility to infections and diseases.

Cortisol is the stress hormone. Too much stress in your body can be detrimental.

7. Quantity vs. Quality

The quality of sleep is equally as important as the quantity of time spent in bed. Sleep cycle disruptions, such as waking up a lot or not getting enough deep sleep, might affect the body’s capacity to perform critical immune processes at night.

The complex relationship between immunological function and sleep emphasises how crucial getting enough good sleep is to general health. Sleep is essential for sustaining a strong immune system because it affects everything from the body’s capacity to produce immune cells to its ability to mount a strong fight against infections. 

So, the next time you’re thinking about staying up late, keep in mind that getting a good night’s sleep is an essential investment in your immune system, not just a luxury. For those who value restorative sleep, sweet dreams and a healthier, more resilient you are in store.

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