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5 Health Issues Caused Due To Lack Of Sleep, Expert Weighs In

There can be a rise in various health conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, and stroke if you are not taking proper sleep. 

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Apr 25, 2023 17:12 IST
5 Health Issues Caused Due To Lack Of Sleep, Expert Weighs In

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Did you know that India ranks second among the world's sleep-deprived nations? Lack of sleep leads to various health conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, and stroke. To learn more about this, we spoke to Dr Pujan Parikh, Consultant -Pulmonary Medicine, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre.

Sleep is crucial to keep your physical and mental health in check. The sleep requirement of the paediatric age group is more, while in middle age the normal sleep requirement is six to eight hours. In the era of urbanisation, most of us are not able to complete our daily sleep, which leads to sleep debt. Here’s how lack of sleep impacts your health.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Health

The causes of sleep deprivation fall under two major categories: lifestyle/occupational (e.g., working in rotational shifts, long working hours, irregular sleep schedules, etc.) and sleep disorders (insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, periodic limb movement disorders, and circadian rhythm disorders, etc.).

Impact On Growth Hormones

Growth hormone secretion occurs in our deepest sleep. The lack of sleep leads to less growth hormone, leptin secretion and an increase in ghrelin levels. Ghrelin and leptin regulate our satiety centres. A high level of ghrelin and less leptin increases the risk of obesity. Obesity and lack of sleep simultaneously increase the risk of many health issues like cardiac diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke, etc.

Also Read: Sleep Paralysis: Expert Explains The Condition And It Affects Your Mind

Risk Of Diabetes And Heart Attacks

The risk of heart attack (non-fatal and fatal) increases for both short and long-sleepers in those who had normal coronaries in the beginning. In the Sleep Heart Health Study, adults who reported five hours of sleep or less were 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes, compared with those who slept seven to eight hours per night. Adults with sleep of nine hours or more were also at risk of diabetes and heart attacks. Hence, it is important to sleep for the required time and not overdo it to keep these health issues at bay.

Impacts Brain Functions

Sleep is important to process data and long-term memories. Lack of sleep affects cognitive function, memory, and alertness. You are also at risk of suffering from mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression due to lack of sleep.

Weight Gain

People who do not get enough sleep or have irregular sleep patterns are at an increased risk of weight gain. This is because your lack of sleep creates an imbalance of hormones that inform your brain when you are full. As a result, you are more likely to overeat even after you are fully satiated.

Affects Immunity

Sleep affects our immunity by impacting the release of protective cytokines and antibodies. Your body releases cytokines as you sleep, which are crucial for regulating the immune system. As a result, lack of sleep impairs the body's capacity to fight infections due to less production of cytokines in your body.

Also Read: Trouble Sleeping At Night? 6 Ways To Increase Melatonin Production That Can Help


Lack of sleep affects driving ability leading to an increased risk of accidents. Productivity in workplaces and school are also affected due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on almost all important health aspects including, performance at workplace, accidents and injuries, functioning and quality of life, family well-being, and use of medical services, etc.