What Happens to the Body When There is a Lack of Sleep?


Aside from food, shelter, and clothing, people also need sleep to survive. Although it isn’t as lethal as lacking food or water for a few days, the lack of sleep plays a role in how dependable our bodies will become. However, understanding the effects of getting less sleep starts from understanding the results of getting enough sleep.

Many biological processes happen during sleep. One of the significant activities includes nerve cells communicating and reorganizing, which helps in promoting healthy brain function. Sleep is also the best time where the body can repair cells, restore energy, and release molecules like hormones and proteins. But how does lack of sleep affect the body? Here are some ideas.

1. Weaker Immune System

The immune system is a body’s defense system that protects foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria. The immune system comprises several types of cells and molecules like white blood cells, antibodies, and cytokines. These cells, molecules, and body parts are responsible for identifying the foreign bodies, destroying the cells or viruses, and eliminating the dead cells and particles.

The immune system is also tasked with keeping an eye on cancer and tumors. If there are abnormal cells within the body, the body will eliminate these cells to prevent the growth and spread of cancer. The immune system will also use a protein called interleukin that helps in the process of self-destruction and will also alert the immune system to any problems.

2. Higher Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Cancer

A few studies indicated a relationship between sleep and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For example, sleeping less than six hours each night can increase the development of heart disease by 31%, the chances of getting type 2 diabetes by 45%, and the chances of getting cancer a rise by 36%. Some studies say that not getting enough sleep for just one night can significantly affect the immune system.

3. Unwanted Weight Gain

People who sleep less are more likely to gain weight. Several studies indicate that those with less sleep tend to eat more, especially sweets and salty food. Because the body is tired, people usually tend to eat a heavier meal rich in fats and carbohydrates and has high calories. Those with poor sleeping habits are also more likely to have poor eating habits. Because of this, people with poor sleeping habits tend to have higher body mass indexes (BMIs), which makes them more prone to getting diseases.

4. Diminished Sex Drive

Sleep is necessary for the body to function correctly. Aside from the biological processes, sleep also plays a role in maintaining a healthy sex drive. There are two hormones released in the body during sleep, luteinizing hormone and testosterone. These two hormones are responsible for developing healthy sexual organs and reproductive organs. If the body does not have enough rest, then the body will have lesser testosterone and luteinizing hormone.

5. Slower Reaction Time

It is essential to be aware of our surroundings, especially when we are in the middle of a task. For example, if we are driving, we need to be mindful of our surroundings. We need to be very careful when driving when distracted by our phones, music, or other things. People who aren’t getting enough sleep tend to have a slower reaction time since their minds are either filled with thoughts or too exhausted.


Not getting enough sleep isn’t just a health issue but also a safety issue because we can also get into accidents while driving or performing other tasks. We need to take care of our health, and sleep is essential. If we have a hard time falling asleep, we can consult with a sleep disorder specialist to help us with the problem.

Agile Urgent Care is the leading, full-service clinic in Meadowlands. We cater to various health problems from the most minor, like colds and allergies, to severe cases like broken bones. Our state-of-the-art facilities help us provide the best medical help we can give to help patients on their way to recovery. Drop by our clinic today and get checked out for any health issues today.

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