How much sleep do you need and what is the risk of lack of sleep?

Normally, an adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night. For some, six is ​​enough, but this is rather an exception to the rule. A decrease in the quality or duration of sleep at night leads to disruptions in the work of almost all organs and systems of the body. Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of insomnia.

Nervous system

It is quite obvious that with insomnia, she suffers first.

During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells in the brain that help remember new information. Insomnia leads to the fact that the brain cannot perform its duties normally. It becomes difficult to concentrate or learn new things. Signals from the body can be delayed, reducing coordination skills and increasing the risk of accidents.

Insomnia negatively affects mental performance and emotional well-being. The person becomes more impatient or prone to mood swings. This jeopardizes decision-making processes and creativity. If you do not get rid of insomnia in time, hallucinations can begin. Other psychological risks: impulsive behavior, depression, suicidal thoughts.


There is such a concept – ” microsleep ” – in a state of exhaustion due to lack of sleep, a person falls asleep for only a few seconds, but these few seconds, for example, while driving, can cost life. With insomnia, this condition very often comes on suddenly and cannot be controlled.

The immune system

While you sleep, the immune system works – it produces special protective substances that fight infections – bacteria and viruses. Insomnia prevents the immune system from building up its strength. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body lacks the strength to fight. That is why people suffering from insomnia take much longer to recover, the consequences of insomnia hit them hard.

Respiratory system

The link between quality sleep and the respiratory system is very close. Sleep apnea (sleep disturbance) interrupts sleep and decreases sleep quality. When you wake up all night, sleep deprivation occurs, which makes the body vulnerable to respiratory infections such as colds and flu. If left unchecked, insomnia can worsen existing respiratory conditions.

Digestive system

Together with overeating and lack of exercise, insomnia is another risk factor for overweight and obesity. Sleep affects the levels of hormones that control hunger and satiety.
There is such a hormone – leptin. It tells the brain that you are full. Without enough sleep, your brain lowers leptin levels and raises levels of another hormone, ghrelin , which stimulates appetite. The action of these hormones can explain night snacks or a big night dinner. Insomnia may not leave energy for sports – without sleep, fatigue becomes a companion. What helps with this kind of insomnia? A competent diet and a healthy lifestyle.

The cardiovascular system

Sleep affects the processes that keep the heart and blood vessels working, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. It also plays a vital role in the body’s ability to repair blood vessels and the heart. People who do not sleep enough are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.

Endocrine system

Hormone production is dependent on sleep. For example, testosterone production requires at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night affects hormone production. This is critical for children and adolescents – sleep interruptions can interfere with the production of growth hormones. They help build muscle and repair cells and tissues. The pituitary gland continually releases growth hormones, but sleep and exercise also release this hormone.


Lack of sleep can negatively affect the critical attitude to the events taking place. Sleeplessness at night is sleepiness during the day, and this significantly impairs the ability to make sound judgments. In such a state, a person simply cannot adequately assess the situation and act wisely.

What to do with insomnia? See a doctor, especially if you experience insomnia with depression! People who have been deprived of normal sleep for long periods of time are prone to misjudge what lack of sleep does to them. In a fast-paced world, working with less sleep has become a source of pride.
But sleep experts disagree – if a person thinks they sleep less and are doing well, they are wrong. It is imperative to treat insomnia with a professional, folk remedies for insomnia can only make it worse.

How to cure insomnia: five symptoms to tell your doctor about

Many seek to cope with insomnia on their own, but in some cases, qualified help is simply necessary. We recommend that you see a doctor if:

Symptom number 1

You have difficulty sleeping more than three times a week, for at least three months, and you cannot fight insomnia at home.  

Symptom number 2

Your partner says that you snore loudly or that you feel like you are stopping breathing in your sleep. Or you wake up many times during the night gasping for breath and worry about possible sleep apnea.  

Symptom number 3

You notice severe heartburn or any other physical pain that keeps you awake at night.   

Symptom number 4

You often feel the effects of insomnia, such as fatigue throughout the day, even if you have slept enough, your ability to perform routine activities is limited, and you notice changes in mood (such as feeling depressed).      

Symptom number 5

You experience unpleasant, painful and restless sensations in your legs at night (the same as during a long drive or long flight).  

To get rid of insomnia, you can, most importantly, be aware of the importance of the problem. Don’t delay treating your insomnia and keep the nights calm as soon as possible!

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