9 disastrous effects of sleeping less on your life

Do you feel that your mind is slowing down a bit? Does it take you longer to read? Do you forget stuff? Have you become absent-minded in general?

Well, the bad news is - you might be suffering from Sleep Deprivation - a public health epidemic. In America around 50-70 million people suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorder as per the Institute of Medicine (link).

And if you're wondering why does it matter so much, here are 9 ways in which sleeping less can destroy your life (see the full-size info-graphic below for technical details):

  1. Wrong decisions: People don't care as much about losing money when they are feeling sleepy. So risky money-related decisions follow. So you might end up investing in a venture and losing all your money.
  2. Weight gain: Sleep deprivation results in a mechanism that decreases judgement ability and increases desire. So when you see your favorite food item - you end up hogging it. And, soon you reach a point where you need a new set of clothes.
  3. Slurred speech: You may choose to not sleep, but the part of the brain associated with language processing will. So you'll end up having a slurred speech. This might be perceived as poor communication skills, or lack of confidence. Consequently, your career might be impacted.
  4. Memory issues: These could be of two types:
    1. Lost Memories: While you are sleeping, your brain is replaying the events and recording them in long-term memory. Don't sleep and lose your memories. So if you don't want to remember the happenings of a bad day, here's something you can try.
    2. False Memories: If losing memories isn't bad enough, here's something creepier - people are more likely to incorporate misinformation into memories of events observed when in a sleep deprived state. So sleep well before any important meeting.
  5. Anger issues: Sleep loss results in focus on negative experiences, misinterpreting facial expressions and picking fights. Do you want me to get started on the plethora of ways in which anger can destroy your life? Did I hear you saying no? Remember sleep properly.
  6. Loss of creativity and humor: Sleep loss affects the mental processes related to divergent thinking. Now, do you want to become a dull, boring character with no creativity and no wit!
  7. Hallucinations: Sleep deprivation affects your sensory abilities. The abilities that help you see, hear, taste, smell, feel etc. Basically, they help you make sense of the world around you. What happens when these abilities aren't at their best - well, you might just imagine things to exist when they don't, and that they don't when they do.
  8. Disengagement with the world: Apart from being tuned out, like when you are bored, there is impairment in visual sensory processing. So you are disengaged from the world, and don't have a very good idea about what's happening around you.
  9. Irreparable Brain Damage: Sleeping less results in cerebral shrinkage and death of brain cells. So the next time you are in a party dancing away at 3AM, remember there's a brain cell (or more) dying with your every step.

Apart from these, you may already be aware of the more easily perceptible impact of sleep deprivation like bloodshot eyes and blood pressure issues. So, dear reader, you may want to take a bit of a nap, if you didn't sleep properly yesterday night. But, before you do that, share this article with your friends.

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