Here other things that a chronic a lack of sleep can hurt:
Your sex drive. “When you’re fatigued, your brain prioritizes getting sleep over other things,” says Dr. Winters. But other chemicals that are important for sexual performance and arousal, such as oxytocin, can be lowered by sleep deprivation.
One study restricted 10 men’s sleep for a week and found that the levels of the sex hormone testosterone in their bodies decreased by up to 15%. (Testosterone is a hormone that can fuel a person’s sex drive.) The reverse is also true: Another study found that people who got more sleep than usual were more likely to have sex the next day: if you hit the hay earlier, you just might be up for a little something extra.
Your weight. “People “tend to make bad eating decisions when they’re tired,” Dr. Winter says. People are also typically more sedentary and less likely to work out when they’re tired, which also can lead to weight gain, he says.
Research found that people with restricted sleep had altered levels of endocannabinoids, one of the chemical signals that affect appetite, and the brain’s reward system. The researchers also discovered that when people were sleep-deprived, they ate more and unhealthier snacks between meals, at the same time that endocannabinoid levels were at their highest. Research has also found that women who get less sleep tend to weigh more than their better-rested counterparts, likely for the reasons above, Dr. Winter says.
Your Blood Sugar. Sleep deprivation isn’t cited by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) as a potential cause of diabetes, but insulin resistance — which can be caused by lack of slee –is.
There’s a direct correlation between lack of sleep and diabetes, Dr. Awad says. It’s due to your body’s ability to regulate insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that controls your blood sugar, he says. “Lack of sleep reduces the production of insulin from the pancreas and decreases gluten tolerance,” Dr. Awad says. “Cells are then less effective at using insulin, and that can lead to the development of diabetes.”
How to Finally Get More Shut-Eye
If you’re struggling with sleep, Dr. Winter recommends first trying to prioritize rest and practicing good sleep hygiene. That includes the following, per the CDC:
– Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on weekends.
– Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
– Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from your bedroom.
– Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
– Exercise regularly. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
If these tried-and-tested tips don’t help, Dr. Awad says it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about what else you can do to get the rest your body needs.