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How Can Sleep Deficiency Affect Your Health? Find Out Here

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 08, 2023

How Can Sleep Deficiency Affect Your Health?  Find Out Here

Did you know that getting enough sleep not only gives you the energy you need for the day but can also keep some of the deadliest diseases at bay? Get to know how sleep deficiency can take a toll on your health, here. 

Understanding How Can Sleep Deficiency Affect Your Health

Similar to eating, drinking, and breathing, sleeping is a basic need in humans. It is essential for good health and overall well-being. However, sleep deficiency can happen to anyone who does not have the right amount of high quality sleep. And for the most part, many people suffer from it, which can result in both short- and long-term consequences. 

According to studies, people who do not get adequate quality sleep are more likely to become ill after exposure to a virus. Consequently, it also affects how quickly you recover if you become ill.

Lack of sleep may cause physical and mental problems. Such mental concerns include impairment in judgment, mood, learning, focus and even retention ability. These, in turn, can lead to productivity loss as well as decreased social functioning. It can also cause serious accidents and injuries. Furthermore, sleep deficiency has been linked to a variety of chronic health issues like obesity and stroke, to name a few. 


Several studies have found a link between a lack of sleep and weight gain. People who sleep for less than six hours per night, for example, are often more likely to have a higher than normal body mass index (BMI). On the other hand, people who have eight hours of sleep have the lowest BMI. 

During sleep, your body produces and regulates a variety of hormones. Among them are ghrelin, the hormone responsible for hunger, and leptin, which makes you feel full. Sleep deficiency can increase ghrelin levels while decreasing leptin levels, making you more likely to feel excessively hungry and overeat. This is why sleep deficiency is now being considered a potential risk for obesity. 


According to researchers, inadequate sleep may contribute to Type 2 diabetes by influencing how the body processes glucose. 

In a short-term sleep restriction study, a group of healthy subjects who had only 4 hours of sleep per night processed glucose more slowly. This is in comparison to when they were allowed to sleep for 12 hours. In addition, numerous epidemiological studies also found that adults who sleep less than five hours per night have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes.

Furthermore, obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep-related breathing disorder, has been linked to the development of impaired glucose control, similar to that observed in those with diabetes. 

Mood and Other Mental Health Problems

Many people who do not get enough sleep may struggle in the following aspects:

  • Control of emotions
  • Good decision-making
  • Overall ability to cope with daily life

Aside from these challenges, sleep deficiency may also lead to other mental health problems such as depression and thoughts of suicide. 

Heart Diseases, Stroke, and Hypertension

Generally, blood pressure drops while sleeping. As a result, a lack of sleep can lead to elevated daily average blood pressure. This then increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

According to research, one night of insufficient sleep in those who already have hypertension can result in increased blood pressure the next day. This may help explain the link between inadequate sleep and cardiovascular disease and stroke. For instance, a study discovered that women who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours were more likely to develop coronary heart disease.

There is also a link between sleep deficiency and coronary artery calcification, a major indicator of coronary heart disease.

Key Takeaways

Most people suffer from sleep deficiency due to various reasons. This, in turn, could result in a number of physical and mental health problems.

Make sure to have some downtime and ensure that you receive adequate sleep. By avoiding sleep deficiency, you can also avoid conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Learn more about Healthy Sleep here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 08, 2023

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