What Happens to Our Bodies when we Don't Sleep Enough

Remember that time you stayed up until 4:00 AM studying or binge watched a great series on Netflix? Then after 2 or 3 hours of sleep, you wake up feeling groggy. Yup, it’s a terrible feeling; you are not at your best. As it happens, inadequate sleep impairs your memory, mood, and completing basic functions. People vary in their need for sleep, however, running on a few hours does impact your body and mind incredibly.

This is what lack of sleep does to your body:

1.         Mood

When exhausted, people are inclined to act and say things, which they might regret later, without even knowing it. You are more irritable, angry, impulsive, and emotional. You might find yourself ranting or lashing out at a partner. Don’t be a Moody Morty, get some sleep to regulate that anger. You don’t want to be accused of “Waking up on the wrong side of the bed”.

2.         Memory

Can’t remember where you put your keys or what you had for dinner last night? Not remembering the simplest things are annoying. Don’t panic, your cognitive processes are just not up to par. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to recall memories and learn efficiently.   Alertness, reasoning, concentration, and problem solving have also been affected resulting in a tougher time attaining information that you have learned during the day. It is essential that you are able to get a decent amount of sleep to recover your body, as well as, your mind.

3.         Reaction Time

Every second counts. When only having to sleep for a few hours, your ability to pay attention and make a spilt second decision is compromised. Your health and those around you are vulnerable and at risk because you are less likely to respond fast enough in a situation which, unfortunately, making the wrong decision can lead to accidents and changing the course of life in a whole new direction.  The result is a physiological affect; the brain is reacting slowly to stimuli due to the brain not getting enough time to rest.

4.         Sickness

Your immune system can also suffer from inadequate sleep. Many nights of poor sleep results in lowering your defence against diseases making it easier to get sick and recovery time to be a lot longer when you are sick. While you sleep, your body produces a protein called Cytokines. Cytokines are what help to protect against infections and inflammations (Olson, 2015). Your body’s ability to fight off sickness is more difficult resulting in your body to push a little bit harder to fight off that cold.

5.         Weight Gain

Are you eating healthy and exercising? However, that special number is not where you want it to be? Consider your sleep pattern.  As we sleep, our body produces certain hormones to regulate our metabolism, glucose levels, and appetite. Not enough sleep disrupts the balance of these hormones. For example, lower levels of leptin are produced, a hormone that sends signals to your brain that you had enough to eat. In addition, high levels of a biochemical called ghrelin is produced which stimulates appetite (Taheri, Lin, Austin, Young & Mignot, 2014). You are programming your body to eat more by sleeping less. Your appetite increases because your brain is not receiving the message that you are full. Another disruption is high levels of insulin are being produced. When the body does not get a sufficient amount of sleep it promotes fat storage and the developing type 2 diabetes (Taheri et al., 2014).

It is incredibly important that we allow our body and mind to rest. After a long day of work and play it is essential to sleep a sufficient amount hours so we can be on our A-game in order to conquer the next day.



Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Medicine, 1(3), 210-217

Olson, E.J., MD. (2015). Lack of Sleep: Can it make you sick? Retrieved May 30, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757



Armie Millet is the Editor in Chief at Driven Fighters. She is responsible for managing the content that is published on Driven Fighters. She has extensive experience in writing, publishing and editing academic articles. She graduated from York University with a degree in political science (Honours).  She enjoys to work-out, read and hang out with her friends when she isn't busy volunteering for the health and stroke foundation.