10 Health Side Effects of Poor Sleep

Sleep health problems

We all know that lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired and grumpy, but most people aren’t aware of the other side effects caused by poor sleep.

In this article, we cover 10 health problems that can result from a lack of sleep.

1. Obesity

Sleep cause obesity
A study found that people who sleep less than 6 hours a day were 30% more likely to become obese than those who slept 7-9 hours.

People that get too little sleep tend to overeat. In fact, sleep loss appears to stimulate appetite and increases cravings for high-fat, high carbohydrate foods.

One study found that women who slept less than 5 hours ate 329 more calories the next day.

2. Depression

Sleep problems depression

Lack of sleep over time can contribute to symptoms of depressions. In fact, the most common sleep disorder, Insomnia, has the strongest link to depression.

In 2007, a study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were 5 times more likely to develop depression.

3. DNA Altered

poor sleep effect insomnia

Being deprived of sleep can alter the function of over 500 genes which can affect areas of the body like metabolism, stress response, and the immune system.

4. Stroke

Lack of sleep cause stroke

Sleeping less than 6 hours a night had a 4.5 fold increase risk of having a stroke compared to those who got 8-9 hours of sleep a night.

Researchers found that people who habitually sleep less than 6 hours  appear to be at risk of of a higher likelihood of a stroke.

5. Look of Aging

sleep problems cause aging

Studies have found that poor sleeping habits increases the signs of skin aging. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body release more of a stress hormone called cortisol which can break down skin collagen. Collagen is the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

Also, sleep loss can cause the body to release less human growth hormone, which is important for improving muscle mass, thicker skin, and stronger bones.

6. Mortality


Sleep 5 hours or less each night increase the risk of death from an cause by as much as 26%. In a 2007 British study of 10,000 people, the results showed the those who had reduced their sleep from seven hours down to 5 hours nearly doubled their risk of death from all caused, especially the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Another study in Journal of Sleep concluded specifically for men that “Insomnia with short sleep duration in men is associated with increased mortality, a risk that has been underestimated.”

7. Immune System

sleep problems- increase sickness

People who sleep less than 7 hours are at 3x more risk of developing a cold when exposed to the flu virus.

8. Heart Health

heart image

Sleeping less than 6 hours over a long-term increases the risk of developing heart disease.

Sleep disorders have also been studied in its relation to heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heart beat.

9. Alertness

poor sleep problem is poor memoryMissing as little as 90 minutes of sleep can reduce daytime alertness by over 30%. In fact, poor sleep can increase forgetfulness.

A study done in 2009 found that important brain activity which is tied to long-term memory storage mostly occurs during the deepest levels of sleep.

10. Diabetes

sleep problems diabetesNot getting the needed amount of deep sleep can lower the body’s sensitivity to insulin which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Related: 7 Foods That Help You Sleep