You may think you can handle the all-nighter you pulled last night to finish up that big project. An extra cup of coffee should do the trick, right? The truth is, exposing your body to a prolonged lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health. You can try to catch up, but you cannot reverse the damage that has already been done. Here are a few ways those late nights may be hurting you in the long run:

Weakened Immunity

While you sleep, your immune system produces protective substances that help fight off bacteria and viruses. A lack of quality sleep can reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases. It can also cause your body to take longer to heal. A good night’s sleep is one of the easiest ways to make sure your immune system is functioning at its finest.

High Blood Pressure

Without long periods of deep sleep, certain chemicals in the body are activated. These chemicals make it harder for the body to achieve extended periods of lowered heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can lead to high blood pressure during the day and a greater risk of other cardiovascular issues, including heart disease. Quality sleep is vital to your heart health.

Risk of Diabetes

Poor sleep affects your body’s production of insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels in the body. The incorrect usage of insulin in the body causes high blood sugar and can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Weight Gain

Sleep affects the two hormones that control the feelings of hunger and fullness, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells your body when you are full, and ghrelin tells your body when you are hungry. Without proper sleep, your body can produce more ghrelin and less leptin, causing you to overeat. A lack of sleep could also cause you to feel too tired to exercise, which could also contribute to weight gain.

Compromised Mental Health

Sleep is not only vital to your physical health, but also to your mental health. A lack of sleep can affect your memory, concentration and mood, and it can put you at an increased risk for anxiety or depression. Being groggy throughout the day because of a lack of sleep can also increase your risk of accidents.

You may think you can outrun your sleep problems, but a lack of quality sleep will eventually catch up to you, and the result could be destructive to your health. If you are having trouble sleeping, don’t wait until it’s too late. Talk to your physician today. Here at Sleep Center of Middle Tennessee we are experts at helping you get a good night’s sleep. This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for a diagnosis, treatment, or advice from your physician.