5 Ways Lack of Sleep Affects Your Brain’s Cycles

brain sleep

As you go throughout your day, your body is put under stress. Simply having your eyes open creates a barrage of senses that your brain must sift through and organize. Pumping blood through your system, digesting your food, and breathing requires energy. The only time your brain gets to take a much-needed break and recover from the day’s stresses is while you sleep.

Millions of people don’t have this luxury, though. Sleep deprivation is a common condition around the world. Side by side with the rising number of people in this category is the increasing population of individuals with chronic health ailments that can be attributed at least partly to lack of sleep.

From cognitive decline to heart conditions, chronic sleep deprivation is responsible for a wide array of health concerns. Because your brain isn’t getting the rest it needs to do its job, your body isn’t functioning as it should be to fight the causes of illnesses. Here are 5 ways that lack of sleep is affecting your brain’s cycles and why missed sleep really is a big deal.

The Effects of Missed Sleep on Your Brain

Experts from Sleepjunkie.org suggest that the average person gets between six to eight hours of sleep each day. This amount is necessary in order for your brain to cycle through all of the stages that it needs to completely refresh and recharge.

When you’re missing out on that amount of sleep but still functioning the next day, it’s not healthy. You may not think you need that sleep, but each cycle is crucial to your overall health. If you lose even one of these important cycles from interrupted sleep, you’ve lost the job that cycle was supposed to complete.

1. Your memory suffers.

As you sleep, your brain works hard to form connections that will help you to process the information you gained that day. If you lose out on this important part of sleep, which usually occurs in stages three and four of your sleep cycle, you will find it harder to connect what you learned with what you already know.

Have you ever had a word at the tip of your tongue that you couldn’t remember? And then another word or cue suddenly helped you to have that “AHA!” moment that led you to the missing word? The cue occurred because your brain set up a connection from it to the word as you were sleeping.

Those cues, or connections, can’t solidify in your brain unless you are sleeping soundly.

2. Your moods suffer.

While your body is in that deep sleep, having teeth falling out dream, it is restoring your hormonal balance. During this stage, your muscles are being repaired from damages they suffered through natural motion throughout the day, your cells are growing and repairing, and hormones are being regulated.

If you lose out on this stage of sleep, you’ll probably find yourself irritable the next day. The stresses and stimuli that you didn’t get to process are compounded by the new ones you are adding onto it and your brain becomes overwhelmed.

3.  Your energy stores deplete.

While you sleep, your body is building up energy to prepare you for the next day. If you haven’t gotten enough rest, your brain hasn’t had the chance to tell the rest of your body to do what it needs to do to build those energy stores.

4. Your immune system suffers.

Research has shown that people who experience poor quality sleep get sick faster and stay ill longer than those who sleep well. People who sleep well regularly have immune systems that are stronger and better prepared to fight off exposure to a virus.

There’s a reason why sleep is recommended as a treatment for just about any illness. Your body will recover faster if your brain is given that rest time to heal and repair the damage from the sickness.

5. Lack of sleep puts you at risk for accidents.

People with sleep deprivation have often been compared to those under the influence of alcohol. It sounds like a far stretch, but the effects of sleep loss on your brain are comparable to those that occur when you are drinking.

Daytime drowsiness increases your risk of being involved in an accident, whether it is a motor vehicle collision, a workplace incident, or simply tripping over your own feet. When you don’t have enough sleep, your brain hasn’t rested well enough for you to concentrate and think clearly. Problem-solving abilities are severely limited, and you are more likely to be injured or cause harm just because you didn’t get enough sleep. By utilizing sleep tracking apps such as Sleep as Android you can better start to change your sleep habits so you’re not affected by the many bad side-effects created from a lack of a good night’s rest.

To Function Well, Your Brain Needs Rest

Without your brain, nothing in your body works as it is supposed to. But that’s a lot of pressure on one little organ. Because its job is so important, it requires nearly one-third of the day to do it all and do it well. Try considering braincore neurofeedback.

Whether you’re fighting jet lag, pulled an all-nighter skipping out on sleep, losing sleep for any reason, or experiencing chronic sleep deprivation will affect your body in little ways that compound over time to become damaging and dangerous.