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Inside Out: What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Sleep

· Article

Inside Out: What Happens to Your Body When You Don't S


Lack of sleep can be hard on your body. Even a night or two of less-than-optimum shut-eye can show up on your body (think dark circles under your eyes). We’ve lain out what happens from head to toe, inside and out.

 

Brain

 

Forgot where you left your keys? No surprise. Research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows people are better at decision making and have improved memory when fully rested.

 

Nose

 

It is widely reported that your immune system takes a hit when you don’t get enough shut-eye, according to the Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, making you susceptible to colds and flu.

 

Wrinkles

 

You’re not imagining it when you look in the mirror. Researchers at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University found that less sleep equals more fine lines and wrinkles. Skin needs sleep in order to rejuvenate with collagen.

 

Hands

 

Tremors and shakiness in your hands may be a sign that you’ve been awake for too long.

 

Heart

 

When you are sleep deprived, your blood pressure goes up, says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. High blood pressure is a risk for a number of serious ailments; top among them: heart disease.

 

Chest

 

A study from the NIH found that among women who received more than nine hours of sleep a night there was a lower incidence of breast cancer. And other research supports the corollary: Not enough sleep can increase the incidence of a number of cancers, including breast cancer.

 

Hips

 

“People focus on eating and exercise for weight loss,” Dasgupta says, “but there is a direct link between being sleep deprived and obesity.” A later bedtime has been found to correspond with higher body mass index, hormonal changes and disrupted metabolism.

 

Kidneys

 

Researchers at Harvard Medical School found a connection between lack of sleep and adult-onset diabetes. The observational study found that those who got seven to eight hours of sleep per night were the most likely to stave off the disease.

 

Knees

 

Just two weeks of insufficient sleep was enough to negatively affect athletic performance, according to a study from the University of California, San Francisco Human Performance Center, decreasing aerobic function and the amount of time before a person became exhausted.

 

Toes

 

When you’re overtired, you may feel pain more acutely than when you’re well-rested. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School saw increases in inflammation in subjects with 25 to 50 percent reduction in sleep. So, that stubbed toe becomes a pain rather than a nuisance.

 

 

 

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