The Consequences of Sleepiness and Insomnia on Your Body

feet of person sleeping in bed

How much sleep are you getting? Experts recommend adults to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. 

But what happens if you regularly get less than seven hours of sleep each night? you may be suffering from sleepiness or insomnia, which can lead to serious health consequences. 

If you are experiencing sleepiness due to insomnia, you should know the impact this can have. Keep reading to learn all about the consequences for your body.

Difference Between Sleepiness and Insomnia

Before learning the consequences of sleepiness and insomnia, you need to know the difference between the two. 

Sleepiness is what happens when you get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep. If you have a bad night or rest due to sickness or a crying newborn, odds are you wake up feeling drowsy and unproductive. Sleepiness is temporary, but in excess, it can lead to much worse. 

Insomnia is a diagnosable disorder that prevents someone from falling and/or staying asleep. Some people suffer from chronic insomnia and experience the symptoms for their whole lives. For others, stress or a big life change can trigger intermittent insomnia, which lasts for a short period of time. 

But can insomnia kill you? Studies show that people who suffer from persistent insomnia experience a much higher risk of death than those who get the recommended amounts of sleep. 

Obviously, neither sleepiness or insomnia are good things. But the major difference is that insomnia is a lasting condition that stretches for periods of time. Sleepiness, on the other hand, comes and goes depending on the day. 

Physical Consequences

Insomnia is dangerous, especially to your physical health. Below are just a few of the physical consequences that insomnia brings. 

Heart Conditions

A lack of sleep drastically affects your heart and insomnia can lead to a variety of heart conditions. 

Adults who suffer from insomnia have a higher risk of suffering from coronary heart disease. Lack of sleep produces higher blood pressure levels, which drastically affects one’s heart health. 

In addition to coronary heart disease, insomnia increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

Obesity

Heart disease and obesity are often linked hand to hand, which means there’s a similar connection between insomnia and obesity. 

Studies show that adults who receive less than six hours of sleep a night are 30 times more likely to become obese. 

Why? A lack of sleep leads to a stronger appetite. So the less you sleep, the more food your body will crave. 

Increases Aging

Another common consequence of insomnia is an increased aging process. 

No, you won’t celebrate our birthday any earlier, but your body may show increased signs of aging. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down your skin’s collagen, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging. 

This is how often times we are able to tell when an acquaintance had a bad night of sleep — it shows in their skin. Those puffy eyes with dark bags under them may become a permanent addition to your face if you suffer from insomnia. 

Mental Consequences

Sadly, insomnia affects more than just the physical elements of your body. The mental consequences of insomnia are vast, below are the most common. 

Depression

A lack of sleep greatly affects your overall mental health and can lead to mental health disorders. Studies show that up to 20% of people who suffer from insomnia experience depression. 

The worst thing about this is that problems sleeping is also a common symptom of depression. That means that if you suffer from both depression and insomnia, the two conditions make each other more prevalent in your life. Once you get one condition, the symptoms of the other condition will likely worsen. 

Impairs Judgement

Insomnia and sleepiness during the day have a huge connection to your judgment abilities. You may think you’re awake enough to handle the tasks of everyday life, but insomnia says otherwise. 

A lack of sleep affects your brain’s problem-solving abilities along with its alertness and concentration. These factors affect your productivity, memory, and critical thinking. 

Take drowsy driving for example. You are three times more likely to be in a vehicle crash due to fatigued driving. And in 2015, 5,000 people died in accidents involving drowsy driving! 

Treatment for Insomnia

Now that you know the consequences of insomnia are vast and serious, what can you do to avoid them?

The first step towards treatment is figuring out what is causing your insomnia. Very seldom does insomnia occur for no reason. A few common causes of insomnia include thyroid issues, sleep apnea, or side effects of medication. 

Once a medical professional finds the cause of your insomnia, they will work to treat your specific symptoms. If the doctor can’t treat the underlying cause, there are prescription medications to treat insomnia. 

If you prefer not to take medications, you can try changing up your bedtime routine to promote healthy sleep habits. 

A few things to try include:

  • Using the bedroom for only sleep by removing all electronics
  • Performing breathing exercises or guided meditation before bed
  • Exercising more often during the day
  • Avoid eating or drinking, especially caffeinated beverages, before bedtime

Moving Forward with a Healthier Life

If you find yourself suffering from sleepiness or insomnia, the time to act is now. The consequences are too costly to ignore! 

If you’re looking for more ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, bookmark this site for all the best advice. Our self-care archive is full of articles on everything from overcoming insomnia to weight loss secrets.