Sleep deprivation affects mental, physical health and can lower your energy levels

By: Emily Lunardo | Sleep | Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 12:00 PM

Sleep deprivation affects mental, physical health and can lower your energy levels

In today’s busy world, problems such as sleep deprivation, low energy levels and fatigue are just part of a modern lifestyle. Sleep pertains to an actual phase in which both the body and mind are allowed to rest. During sleep, a person is generally inactive and thus, not aware of his or her immediate surroundings. Individuals experiencing sleep problems due to physical and/or mental health conditions such as stress are likely unable to get enough rest each night. They often catch a few hours of sleep during the early hours of the morning; however, they often need to get up and go to work or school by 6 a.m.

Having sleep problems due to stress and poor mental health can be difficult enough to cope with, so it may be easy to imagine its impact on both physical and mental health. Having several cups of coffee each day for that caffeine boost can only be initially effective, and after some time, the same sleep problems due to stress may occur, often impacting one’s mental health.

Stress and mental health problems can cause sleep deprivation and result in diet changes

stress and mental health problem cause sleep deprivationAccording to a recent medical report published in the journal Nutrition Research, sleep problems due to stress or mental health problems may also result in a change in diet. A reduction in the length of sleep or poor sleep quality, have long been considered the main causes for difficulty concentrating at work or school or while operating motor vehicles and machines. Sleep problems associated with stress and mental health issues have been linked with poor calculations with machines, resulting in physical injuries and possibly death. A recent medical report showed that aside from dysfunctional motor activities, sleep problems also influence food choices, thus affecting the amount of available energy to be used by an individual on a daily basis.

The report explains that sleep problems due to stress or mental health issues are often associated with poor food choices, thus resulting in weight issues, including obesity. On the other hand, getting enough sleep has been associated with a more positive type of diet and the absence of stress and mental health issues. The association between sleep problems and poor food choices has been observed in various age levels, suggesting that stress and mental health issues may occur at any point in one’s life. People with sleep problems tend to eat items that give them that instant boost of energy; unfortunately, these foods are also rich in sugars or fat. Furthermore, individuals with sleep problems due to stress and mental health conditions tend to eat lower amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Effect of sleep deprivation on the body

Effect of sleep deprivation on the bodyThe recent medical report emphasizes that the simple act of getting enough sleep may help in boosting one’s energy. Sleeping for approximately eight hours each night may influence an individual’s meal pattern, thus preventing a person from skipping meals. Getting enough sleep also prevents a person from experiencing food cravings, and helps instill a regular time for meals and the normal amount of food consumption at each meal. Individuals with sleep problems due to stress are often low in energy and binge on any food of their choice to feel energized.

Getting enough sleep also prevents a person from adopting a nocturnal habit, so he or she is often awake all night. It is important to understand that being up all night is strongly associated with consuming snacks and other types of junk food. Upon waking the next morning, these individuals are generally full from the junk food they consumed the previous evening and often skip breakfast. Regular consumption of snacks during the rest of the day to fill the need for energy may actually result in poor energy stores.

The medical report presents a simple way of boosting energy and for individuals who are not avid fans of sleep, this easy solution may sound quirky. Some people feel that sleeping is actually a waste of time, and if they could get away with the least number of hours of sleep each day, they would. Sleep can be a valuable activity, improving one’s general health, including increasing the total amount of energy and improving one’s daily activities.

Sleep chart by age for children and adults

Maybe you think that a mere six hours of sleep is enough, but unless you have the gene that researchers from the University of California discovered, six hours isn’t necessarily enough. Below is a chart with suggested average sleep needs by age.

Age Group
Newborn to 2 months
Time in Hours
12-18 hours
3 months to 1 year 14-15 hours
1 year to 3 years 12-14 hours
3 to 5 years 11-13 hours
5 to 12 years 10-11 hours
12 to 18 years 8.5-10 hours
18 + years 7.5-9 hours

Other effects of sleep deprivation on the body

Other effects of sleep deprivation on the bodyLack of sleep won’t just impair your energy levels; sleep deprivation can take a toll on other parts of your body as well. Here are the major side effects of sleep deprivation.

  • Impaired cognitive ability
  • Changes to mood, moodiness
  • Memory fog
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased susceptibility to accidents
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Weaker immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Increases risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Increases risk of heart disease

Tips to help you sleep better

Tips for better sleepIf you want more energy, you now know that sleep plays a large role in your energy levels. Therefore, to boost energy, it’s ideal to get more sleep. Here are some tips to help you sleep better.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule
  • Pay attention to your diet – certain food and drinks can lead to sleep deprivation
  • Create a bedtime routine
  • Be comfortable – ensure proper temperature and lighting in your bedroom
  • Minimize daytime napping – although a nap is ok, don’t substitute it for actual sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress

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