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Harsh Effects of Sleeplessness on the Body

Other than making you cranky and irritable, sleeplessness can have some serious knock-on effect on various parts of your body. Read on to discover the repercussions of staying up late.

Mental Health By Vasudha Bhat / Nov 18, 2014

What the Findings Say

Startling findings of a study that was published in the journal Sleep has shown that a quarter of people who did not get sleep of more than six hours developed some kind of cardiovascular disease. Also, experts at the Harvard Medical School said that people who fail to sleep for at least five hours are 15 percent more likely to die at any age from anything. Sleep deprivation can have severe effects on your body. Here are some of them listed for you.

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Effect on Reflexes

According to a study in the journal Nature, after 24 hours without sleep, the cognitive motor performance is the same as that which happens after one has had five drinks. A study conducted at the Loughborough University in England used a trick in which the participants were made to drink a medium coffee and then snooze for 20 minutes. This made the exhausted drivers alert.

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Effect on Stomach

Leptin is a hormone that is responsible for making you feel full and regulating fat storage. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, people who sleep for just five hours have 15.5 percent lower level of this hormone.

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Effect on Waistline

The researchers at Stanford University found that people who get only five hours of sleep at night have more body fat and their BMI is 3.6 percent greater on an average.

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Effect on Blood Pressure

A person who regularly sleeps for less than six hours has his/her systolic BP up to 132 when the normal level is 120. This happens because the stress hormone cortisol shoots up.

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Effect on Pancreas

A study by Yale University Medical School showed that men are twice as likely to develop diabetes during their lifetime and this mainly happens due to regularly sleeping for less than six hours a night. This happens irrespective of their age or activity level.

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Effect on Brain

A study on animals which the researchers believe may be true for men too shows that staying up for 19 hours at a stretch of three days can damage or kill brain cells. Besides, without sleep the brain is unable to clear the plaque-forming proteins that cause Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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Effect on Skin

People who are deprived of proper sleep often have sallow skin and puffy eyes. Regular loss of sleep can make the skin lose its shine and can make fine lines appear on the face.

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