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What are the long term effects of a lack of sleep?

What are the long term effects of a lack of sleep?

Sleep is a very individual process, no two people are the same when it comes to getting their 40 winks, or even less as the case may be.

I’ve had odd periods of family stress or work turbulence when I’ve found it particularly difficult to get to sleep or waking up in the night frequently.

This can have all sorts of consequences on your mental and physical wellbeing.

Sammy Margo, sleep expert and author of The Good Sleep Guide and The Good Sleep Guide for Kids, explained that these can be separated into short and long term effects.

As I’ve never had this problem for more than a few days at a time, the worst I’ve felt is exhausted and low, as well as a little agitated, although this is also due to the stress I was under.

According to Ms Margo: “In the long term, you will feel irritable, grumpy, miserable and annoyed.”

There are also some more serious health implications to watch out for, such as depression.

However, she warned “it is the chicken and the egg scenario. Is the lack of sleep the cause of the depression or is depression causing the lack of sleep?”

This is something a GP is better placed to answer and hopefully help you with.

“There is also the impact it can have on weight gain, poor memory and poor performance – be it at school, work or in your relationship,” Ms Margo went on to say.

A link has already been found between a lack of sleep and obesity, as your body becomes stressed and holds on to fat, especially around your internal organs.

This makes sense as I often think my stomach looks far flatter after a long weekend or a relaxing holiday, when I know I’ll have had plenty of lie ins and lots more shut eye.

Do you struggle with getting to sleep? How do you combat this?

Posted by Margo Hunter

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