Almost everyone has experienced sleep deprivation in their lifetime. However, the recurrence can have some detrimental side effects. A recent study from the University of Southern Florida reported that just three nights of sleep loss cause a substantial physical and mental wellness decrease. One night of sleep loss was less than the standard six to eight hours of sleep for a healthy individual.

The most apparent symptoms appeared in individuals after the first night of the sleep deprivation experiment. These consisted of included anger, irritability, respiratory issues, aches, pain, and anxiety. These then progressed until day three of lacking sleep, where the side effects reach their peak. After the three-day peak was reached, they concluded that the participant’s bodies adapted to the sleep loss. As day six approached, the study’s participants expressed to the researchers that their physical state had hit rock bottom.

Impact on Mental Health

Sleep deprivation can significantly alter your brain. A consistently poor sleep schedule increases the amygdala structure of the brain that controls emotions. This increase in amygdala function results in negative emotions like rage, anger, reduces our brain’s function to cope with stress. When chronic insomnia occurs, it can be accompanied by feelings of depression, anger, and anxiety.

Impact on Physical Health

Improper sleep can take a toll on a person’s physical health. When we go to sleep, the body has a chance to heal and recuperate, particularly the blood vessels and heart. Depriving our body of this healing process can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

“Many of us think that we can pay our sleep debt on weekends and be more productive on weekdays,” explained author Soomi Lee of the lead study and assistant professor at the USF School of Aging Studies in a recent interview. “However, results from this study show that having just one night of sleep loss can significantly impair your daily functioning.”

It is imperative not to let your body get accustomed to sleep loss. Poor sleeping habits can be hard to dismantle. As the body adapts to the lack of sleep, adverse side effects persist, and overall wellbeing decreases.

Sleep deprivation is an ongoing problem in society that a lot of individuals struggle with. Around one out of every three adults in America get less than six hours of sleep nightly. To avoid this problem, get an adequate amount of sleep every night and reduce stress to contribute positively to your overall wellbeing. Never allow your body to adapt to sleep deprivation.

More from Beliefnet and our partners