Experts recommend catching 7 to 9 hours of zzz. However, most of us end up sleeping for fewer hours than we should. Did you know that 50 to 70 million individuals in the US suffer through one or another sleep disorder? The inability to get proper shuteye time can be attributed to several causes ranging from the use of electronics to stress and anxiety.

The deficiency of sleep makes one feel groggy and frustrated all day long. However, this not the only problem induced by not sleeping as much as one should. Inadequate sleep can result in a number of other health concerns as well.

Loss of focus, lowering sex drive and increasing weight are some of these. This is why you should keep your worries and your gadgets away before heading to bed. Not convinced? Here are 15 health-related troubles caused by lack of sleep. Perhaps awareness will help you take the necessary measures to improve your sleep quality and quantity as required by your body.

Memory loss

Don’t you hate it when you are unable to recall the notes you crammed the previous day? Or the birthdate of a friend? Often sleep deficiency can be blamed for memory-related problems. You see, you brain is responsible for collecting, processing and storing information. Lack of sleep disrupts its ability to do so and adversely impacts both short and long-term memory.

Mood swings

Fed up of being unable to control yourself from lashing out on those around you every now and then? Sleep might also be playing the villain’s role here. When you are unable to catch zzz on a regular basis and are chronically sleep deprived, you tend to become more irritable, moody and short-tempered. Lack of sleep can even cause depression, anxiety and such bigger problems.

Weak immunity

A strong immune system ensures your guard against viruses, infections and ailments is up and solid. However, when you are sleep deprived, your immunity is lowered. This means that your resistance against germs is not strong enough to protect you from their attacks. As a result, sleep deprived people are more likely to catch a cold or a flu.

Brain fog

Know that feeling when your focus is down? You get distracted easily and are not able to think clearly. This can also be a result of sleep deprivation. Not sleeping for enough hours impairs one’s creativity and concentration levels. So much so that sleep deprivation has been one of the major causes behind accidents too.

Heart risk

Lack of sleep also puts your heart at risk. Some stats show that 90% of the people who have insomnia fight with another health concern as well. If you are sleep deprived you are at a higher risk for irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure markers, stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and even heart failure. Therefore, show some love to your heart and sleep better.

Reduced sex drive

Poor quality or quantity of sleep can not only cause problems for you but your partner as well. You see, experts say that sleep deprived people have lower libidos and dropping interest in sex. Research also reveals that sleep apnea in men can lower their testosterone levels which can, in turn, lower libido. On the other hand, sleeping well increases sex drive.

Infertility

Not only does your interest in sex go down, lack of sleep can also be a cause behind infertility. This is because when one’s sleep is disrupted regularly the production of his reproductive hormones also decreases. This is the case for both men and women. The production of testosterone requires three hours of sleep without any interruption.

Weight gain

Lack of sleep is also associated to weight gain. How? Because sleeping less and overeating are co-related. You see, the hormones that indicate the feeling of fullness to the brain are off-balance when you are sleepy. At the same time, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger is increased. This means that it is more likely for you to overstuff yourself with food when you are sleep deprived.

Aging skin

Want fresh skin? Sleep properly. Not catching an ample number of zzz for one night is bad enough. You wake up with puffy eyes and dull-looking skin. When this becomes routine, dark circles are birthed and one’s skin ages faster. This results in fine lines and wrinkles. The overproduction of cortisol also breaks collagen, which plays the role of keeping skin elastic, firm and youthful.

Less HGH

HGH, the human growth hormone, is produced when one sleeps. Sleep loss can decline the production of this hormone. What HGH does is that it builds muscle mass, repairs cells and tissues. In adults, it keeps bones and muscles strong. HGH deficiency can cause growth problems for children and adolescents. For adults, it can result in faster aging as bones and muscles aren’t strengthened.

Depression

If you think that mood swings and brain fog are the only two mental problems introduced by sleep deprivation then you are sadly mistaken. Because research shows that sleep loss and depression share a relation. Insomniacs are 5x more likely to be depressive. Depression and sleeplessness form a vicious cycle with both triggering one another.

Diabetes

Because negatively impacting your brain and your heart is not enough, sleep deprivation also revs up the risks for diabetes. Here’s how it goes: sleep deficiency impacts the body’s release of insulin which is a hormone that plays the role of lowering blood sugar. Not getting enough sleep can raise the levels of blood sugar and increase one’s risk for prediabetes and diabetes type 2.

Digestive problems

When you sleep, your digestive system benefits. First of all, because your digestive system gets time to rest. Secondly, because sleep provides the digestive system with energy to function properly. Poor sleep can lead to inflammation which can cause digestive problems such as IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome.) It can also cause stress which can cause a leaky gut, constipation and diarrhea.

Respiratory diseases

Yet another problem is that lack of sleep is also associated with respiratory functioning. Know that sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that materializes at night and interrupts sleep. Interrupted or poor quality of sleep translates to you being more prone to respiratory infections such as flu and cold. It can also result in major respiratory concerns as well such as a lung illness.

Fatigue

Lack of sleep can cause fatigue. This is common knowledge. This is why it is essential to sleep the number of hours recommended. Exhaustion can result from even a single night of less sleep and even more so, when one is a patient of chronic sleep deprivation. When tired not only do you tend to be more physically clumsy but mentally as well.

To sum up, sleep plays an important role when it comes to health. The risks posed by lack of sleep are several. This calls for paying more attention to improving your sleep times and patterns.