It is not easy dealing with someone who has not slept for hours, let alone someone who has not slept for days. However annoying this can be, it can be quite surprising to know that there is still very few people who actually understand the effects of sleep deprivation on the human body. In most cases, people would just shrug it off and just try to catch up with their sleep when they have more time. But are things really that simple?

Not many people may know it but lack of sleep can actually cause someone to have a lower threshold for stress. With very little energy to go on, people who have not slept for days might find even the most mundane of activities to be quite a burden. Because you can become stressed out easily, you can also come across as quite grumpy and could easily flare up with the slightest provocation. Now, as you become more stressed, your body produces more cortisol. This production of excess cortisol, in turn, causes the breakdown of your collagen which could lead to early ageing of the skin. Keep in mind that collagen is what keeps your skin elastic.

Not getting enough sleep can also cause someone to lose the ability to focus and concentrate as well as the ability to commit things to memory. Since you would be feeling tired, you would most likely have to drag yourself to work or to school. You would no longer have enough energy to actively listen to what’s being said to you. In most cases, because you have not undergone REM, which is important in memory formation, you would find yourself unable to retain information being given to you.

Lack of sleep has also been tagged as the main culprit for such medical conditions as increased cardiac problems. This is comes as a result of many things – as your body becomes stressed out, it gets ready for a fight or flight activity causing your heart to pump more blood. In most cases, you would also be ingesting a lot of caffeine in order to keep your energy up which could also cause your heart to start beating faster. The lack of sleep can also cause, at best, your blood vessels to become inflamed causing the heart to ultimately succumbed to a number of cardiovascular disorder. Worst case scenario, there is a high risk for death due to sleep deprivation.

Depression is also another result of sleep deprivation. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that, since your body has not had time to recoup, you would most likely feel lethargic. This feeling of lethargy could, in turn, keep you from doing what you regularly do which could leave you feeling unsatisfied with your day. Ergo, depression.

Lastly, lack of sleep could also lead one to gain weight. This is because lack of sleep can actually cause the peptides that control your appetite to go haywire. Peptides such as leptin, which suppresses your appetite, can decrease causing your body to think that you are still hungry.