What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Body Over Days, Weeks and Months

What happens when you don't get enough sleep.

8 Minute ReadFeature

23.10.20 (Updated 24.10.23)

Sleep deprivation is becoming the norm. We’re not getting enough sleep and it’s having a serious effect on our short- and long-term health. Sleep deprivation is defined by having fewer than seven to nine hours of good quality sleep per night, but the third pillar of health - along with nutrition and exercise - is not getting the airtime it deserves; and to deleterious effect.

From reduced mental health and increased fat storage, to hampered productivity and waning cardiovascular health, when we are sleep deprived our wellbeing suffers. Scientific studies have time and again concluded that obtaining adequate sleep strengthens our immune systems and decreases our chances of developing type two diabetes and even cancer.

The impact of sleep deprivation is real. Whether or not you suffer from recognised insomnia, most of us have spent the odd night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep because we have something on our minds or as a result of that after-dinner espresso. But what happens to your body and brain if a subpar night’s sleep isn’t just a one-off, and is something that becomes routine? Even a single night of sleep deprivation can have a disastrous impact on your health.

Read on to find out exactly how a lack of good quality sleep can affect your wellbeing over a period of:

and - crucially - what you can do to improve your sleep and thus your overall health.

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Memory, concentration and learning.

Ever noticed how the morning after a bad night’s sleep you’re more prone to putting your toast in the microwave or pouring orange juice into your tea? Even just a single night of poor sleep can lead to some pretty major problems with focus, memory and concentration.

Not only can missed sleep make you more forgetful, there’s a burgeoning body of research to suggest that lack of sleep can be detrimental to learning ability too: research has determined that sleep is fundamental for consolidating information taken in during the day. Seven to nine hours is the optimum amount of sleep for effectively committing what we’ve learned during the day to memory.

The bottom line is that focus, memory, deduction, decision-making, reasoning, learning and problem-solving are all worsened when a person gets fewer than seven hours of shut eye per night. Furthermore, reaction time and alertness are also severely affected.

For enhanced memory your brain needs two things: sufficient energy (which in part comes from sleep) and efficient communication between neurons. LYMA contains the world’s leading nootropic, Cognizin®, to support both of these mechanisms. Cognizin® works by encouraging oxygen supply to the brain and transporting nutrients to neurons to help their networks flourish.

Cognizin® is a patented form of renowned brain-health nutrient citicoline that has been clinically proven to enhance mental performance and boost concentration and memory. Supplementing with Cognizin® is a natural and effective route to keeping your brain balanced, supple and sharp. Cognizin® could even help to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Pill in hand

Heart health.

Sleep dramatically impacts the health of your heart and blood vessels, as well as your blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Sleep also plays a key role in your body’s innate ability to maintain, heal and repair blood vessels and circulatory system.

It might seem crazy to learn that your heart health can be negatively impacted after a single night of poor sleep, but statistics support exactly this.

Take, for example, the annual ‘springing forward’ of the clocks. Every year this happens, and every year we lose an hour of sleep. And on the following day every year this happens: hospitals report an average 24% increase in the number of heart attack admissions. This could be passed off as mere coincidence were it not for the fact that the exact opposite trend is seen when the clocks ‘fall back’ an hour in the autumn. The day following the turning back of the clocks - when we all enjoy an extra hour of slumber before our alarm clocks jolt us into wakefulness - hospitals report an average 21% reduction in the number of heart attack admissions the following day. This phenomenon underscored just how fragile our hearts and bodies are, and just how detrimental even a single hour of lost sleep can be for our health.

Calcium build-up is a leading cause of heart disease and clogged vessels. However, vitamin K2 can help to prevent blockages from forming and can help to break up any blockages that are already present. Vitamin K2 is a really important nutrient, but an alarming number of us are deficient. Supplementing with Vitamin K2 therefore can help to protect you from heart disease heart, attack and stroke.

MenaQ7® Matrix is the world’s most bioavailable form of Vitamin K2 and is formulated at a clinical dose of 75µg in LYMA. When taken in combination with Vita-algae D3™ as formulated at 2,000 i.u. LYMA, you’ll be supporting your body’s calcium metabolism and bolstering the health of your heart and blood vessels.

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Weakened immunity.

Losing sleep can increase your body's susceptibility to illness, making it easier to get sick.

While scientists still don’t understand everything behind our need to sleep, one thing is for sure: while you sleep, your immune system is hard at work manufacturing antibodies and cytokines, i.e. the body’s natural defenses against foreign invaders such as bacteria, pathogens and viruses.

Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces, the impact of which can be significant. Not only are you more likely to get sick in the first place if you skimp on sleep, but you will likely recover more slowly too.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation could leave you particularly vulnerable to upper respiratory tract infections including Covid-19.

LYMA contains a Wellmune® Blend: an extensively trialled and fully patented immune-boosting beta glucan which is supported by over a dozen published, peer-reviewed clinical studies. Our Wellmune® Blend is a purified and highly specialized 1,3 1,6 beta glucan that has been scientifically proven to support the integrity of the immune system. This Wellmune® Blend primes white blood cells' neutrophils and macrophages to engage with foreign pathogens in order to destroy invaders - including respiratory tract infection-causing viruses - before they can take hold.

Weight gain.

Lack of sleep over a period of weeks messes with your metabolism and can cause you to pile on pounds.

A study that examined the relationship between sleep and weight in 20,000 otherwise healthy adults found that those who routinely slept less than five hours per night were more likely to gain weight during the study, and were more at risk of becoming obese.

One possible explanation is that a lack of sleep negatively affects levels of leptin and ghrelin in the body; the hormones responsible for eliciting feelings of hunger and fullness.

Sleep deprivation can also cause your body to both reduce the body’s glucose tolerance and to release less insulin after you eat, raising your blood sugar and causing you to overeat. Furthermore, feeling tired can make you less likely to exercise. Over time, reduced physical exercise, along with slowed metabolism, and poor insulin modulation, can lead to weight gain and, in extreme cases, to the onset of type two diabetes.

Ensuring that you sleep for between seven and nine hours per night could dramatically reduce your risk of becoming obese, and of developing diabetes and metabolic disorders.

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Increased cancer risk.

Clinical studies have shown that reduced sleep time is closely correlated with increased rates of certain types of cancer. Breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer have all been linked to long-term and sustained sleep deprivation.

If you work night shifts or odd hours you may be more likely to develop these cancers. However, if you can manage to shuffle things around so that you are getting seven solid hours of sleep every 24 hours, your chances of becoming ill are significantly reduced.

If you routinely have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, you might consider taking a sleep supplement. Sensoril® Ashwagandha, as formulated at 250mg in LYMA, is an adaptogen that has been clinically proven to enhance sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. The leaves of the ashwagandha plant contain a substance called ‘triethylene glycol’; this is the compound responsible for transmitting sleep signals around the body. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to promote better sleep and improved wellbeing. Sensoril® Ashwagandha is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Your skin will suffer.

If the detrimental health effects aren’t enough to convince you to make more of an effort to get those eight hours of sleep per night, how about this: a lack of sleep can wreak havoc with your skin. From the development of fine lines and wrinkles, to uneven skin tone, loss of elasticity and more frequent and severe breakouts, upping your sleep can really take its toll on your appearance.

If you’re already seeing the visible signs of months - or even years - of undersleeping, the LYMA Laser is an all-in-one solution that transforms your skin from within. The LYMA Laser is the only clinic-grade hand-held laser that you can use at home to ‘unlock’ the mitochondria that provide your skin cells energy, effectively restoring your cells’ ability to produce collagen and elastin, and renewing the skin in the process. The LYMA Laser can help to undo a lot of the damage that time and sleep deprivation can have on your appearance. Part of a three-part easy-to-use system, the laser penetrates to the very depths of your skin to encourage it to behave as if it isn’t ageing.

In addition to supplementing with LYMA in order to aid sleep and fight the effects of sleep deprivation, you might consider establishing a more healthy bedtime routine. This could include a designated ‘wind-down’ hour, eating sleep-supporting foods in the evening or stepping away for screens an hour before bed. Whatever you do: prioritise sleep. Sleep is a superpower and LYMA is here to support you on your journey to improved slumber.


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