The Terrifying Things That Happen To Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

by Rosey Baker

Sleep deprivation is an American epidemic that can seriously mess with your life.

I know you're given a new thing to be afraid of every single day, and it's already hard enough to get some shut-eye without me freaking you out even more.

But the truth is, not getting at least six hours of sleep a night for a few days in a row can derail your fitness goals, career and relationships.

Here are just a few of the ways that consistently running on empty can screw with your waking life:

Inability to read others' emotions

Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO and co-founder of the sleep technology company Reverie, told Bustle a lack of sleep means "an impaired ability to empathize, read others' emotions, make judgments, think about future consequences, and resolve conflict."

So if you care about your relationships, get some damn rest.

Mood swings

A 2016 study found that when we don't get enough sleep, our ability to determine the importance of a thing or event becomes greatly impaired.

Lead researcher Professor Talma Hender and her team discovered “we lose our neutrality. The ability of the brain to tell what's important is compromised. It's as if suddenly everything is important."

Basically, a lack of sleep could be the reason we blow certain things out of proportion, when they normally wouldn't be seen as that big of a deal.

Crappy-looking skin

I don't need science to back this one up, although there's plenty of evidence that proves a lack of sleep is terrible for your skin.

I just know that every night I get under six hours of sleep, my face looks like a used plastic bag. The color of it turns an almost-grey, and my biggest fear becomes accidentally opening up my phone's camera on selfie mode.

A bad case of the all-day munchies

I've been up since 8 am, and in three hours, I've eaten a cinnamon bun, some pineapple, popcorn and a Hershey's bar. Right now, I'm chowing down on some Cheetos.

Why? Because I never sleep, and a recent study showed that lack of sleep will activate the body's endocannabinoids, which causes people to overeat when they're not hungry.

Want to take a wild guess what else does that? SMOKIN' POT, BABY.

Not sleeping gives you all the munchies with none of the high. HUGE bummer.

Weight gain

OK, so on top of the fact that not sleeping makes you hungry AF for no real reason, it also slows your metabolic rate way down.

Dianne Augelli, MD, a sleep expert, told SELF magazine,

Long term, your body's metabolism changes because it doesn't intake food the same way, creating insulin resistance. This is when your body tends to store more of what you eat instead of processing it normally.

This is why when you're trying to maintain your current healthy weight, or trying to commit to a weight-loss routine, getting eight hours of sleep a night is so imperative.

Getting enough sleep is imperative to all aspects of your mental as well as physical health.

So if you're not getting in eight hours a night, the least you should do is be prepared for the consequences.

Citations: 11 Scary Things That Can Happen To Your Body If You Get Less Than 6 Hours Of Sleep For A Few Days Straight (Bustle), This Is What Actually Happens To Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Sleep (SHAPE)