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I have often been asked during my troubles, “What are the effects of not sleeping at night?” or “What are the long term effects of lack of sleep”?
As it’s pretty much the same question, I thought I would answer it in one go. This is what it was like for me, but of course everyone is different, for me there were many side effects to not sleeping well so I’m going to list them here. If you have any of these may I suggest you see your Doctor ASAP!
1. High Blood Pressure
Now I’m not positive if I had my High Blood Pressure before the sleep problems started or the sleep problems caused the High Blood Pressure, but anyway, I don’t believe High Blood Pressure was helped at all by the sleep problems and must have made it worse. According to finding from a Chinese Experiment, High Blood Pressure is very much affected by sleeplessness (view article here) and I would agree with that from my own experience. Of course High Blood Pressure can lead to all sorts of illnesses and problems, not least Heart Disease and stroke, so if you feel you may be sleeping poorly and just stressed out all the time, I want you to see your GP for a check up for High Blood Pressure.
2. Concentration and Memory Impairment.
This was a major concern for me. As you can imagine, being in the emergency Services as I was at the onset, was not a fun time for me. It’s a profession where the slightest lack in concentration can be fatal, not only for yourself, but for casualties and also your colleagues. I can say that I simply had no choice than to go to work tired. There were times when I would literally fall asleep on the Truck I was so tired. Many of you will be in the same position with your own job I’m sure.
I really don’t know how I survived this major problem without either getting fired or having to resign from my job. However, I had Pension and Family to think about and in the end I did have to get help, which meant I was able to Retire eventually without any damage to any as far as I know.
Anyway, did my concentration suffer? You Bet!
Was my Memory Impaired? You Bet!
This is one of the effects of not sleeping at night!
It was terrible. But this is why I am writing this. If you are suffering like this, you need to go and get help, far sooner than I did. Your employer might be able to help and of course, your GP will have to help you! Please don’t wait any longer!
3. Weakened Immune System
One of the things I noticed when suffering from Sleep Deprivation was how I was always getting colds, Flu, Stomach upsets, Indigestion, etc. I now know this was because of Lack of sleep causing my Immune System to be weakened. This is a serious side effect of sleeplessness and part of the effects of not sleeping at night.
Your body needs rest to restore your immune system, your nervous system and all sorts of other body departments. If your only getting 4 hours per night, your body won’t be able to cope and your Immune System will suffer, leaving you to be easily affected by Viruses that cause Flu and other illnesses. Just another reason why you should get Medical help before the situation spirals out of control as it did with me!
I know Diabetes is another illness that can be bought on by Sleep Problems or by the High Blood Pressure, or the vicious circle that ensues. I was lucky that it doesn’t affect me yet, but again, I believe it’s much more prevalent in Insomnia cases than most people think.
4. Weight Gain
I also started putting on weight whilst on my Sleeplessness journey. your Metabolism suffers so when you don’t sleep, your brain tells you, you are hungry, so you start eating more. Add to that the fact your too tired to exercise or do basic things and another disaster is just waiting to happen. I really believe this may be one of the reasons that there is more and more Obesity. If people checked their sleep patterns, they may well see, that their Weight gain is linked to their not getting the regular sleep their body needs.
5. Sex Drive
Hey, I will admit it, my sex drive DID suffer. It’s difficult to get romantic (my word for it) when you haven’t slept well the last few days. Your mind is numb, your heart is pounding (from the sleeplessness, not the romance) and you just don’t feel like it. Then you start to worry about it, well as any man will tell you, that’s a disaster waiting to happen isn’t it now. Anyway, with the right help and support, your Sleep will get better and your sex drive may well return to its normal state. I just feel I’m still not 100%, maybe 70%, maybe because I’m still taking the High Blood Pressure tablets, which I believe do cause some problems in that area. One more of the effects of not sleeping at night.
Well, again, when you have had trouble sleeping, you just don’t feel great do you? This is another effects of not sleeping at night!
I would bark at Family & Friends so often and so bad it’s a wonder I have any left. I just hope they understand what was going on? If not, maybe reading this will help them to. It’s another reason you may need to get help as soon as possible. If you are staring to show signs of bad moo d swings I would certainly suggest a GP visit to discuss anti-depressants or some thing of that nature. They do make you feel happier, but please, only temporarily, until the Sleep issue is sorted out.
And the long term effects of lack of sleep?
Well, you know from my list, I still suffer with High Blood Pressure and my sex drive isn’t want I would like, but in general, I exercise more, Sleep better, eat healthier and feel well in myself, than I did before and during my troubles. It may well be that I have now retired and therefore arguable that my struggle was caused by work, or rather the Shenanigans at my work.
But I just want you to know, you can survive this debilitating problem. Yes, it may take a while, yes, you may well come out of it with some long-standing conditions, but as I have proved, the human body is a miracle of science, able to withstand all sorts of Trauma and Problems, and still come out on top. I have and I believe you will too!
You may wish to view our post “9 weird cures for sleep deprivation“