11 Creepy Things Your Body Does After Just One Night Of Bad Sleep
Nothing's worse than crawling out of bed after a night of bad sleep, and knowing you're about to struggle through the day. You might brace yourself for a bout of grogginess, feel sick, or worn down. But that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to all the creepy and uncomfortable things that can happen when you don't get enough sleep.
Of course, we all go through times in life when it's tough to sleep soundly and solidly through the night. This might happen, for example, if you're struggling with a cold, while traveling, or when dealing with a stressful situation. Moments like these can make it difficult to sleep well. But as a general rule, everyone should be making sleep a top priority, as a way of staying healthy and preventing weird side effects.
"Adults age 18 and older function most efficiently and effectively with somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per day," Dr. Kent Smith, sleep expert and founder of Sleep Dallas, tells Bustle. "However, a night of bad sleep — even in the short-term — can have [many] effects on a person’s body and mind." Read on for some of the "creepy' things that can happen after a night of bad sleep, according to experts.
1. It Lowers Your Defense Against Germs
There's a reason why you feel sick and rundown after a night of poor sleep. "A good night’s rest helps your immune system neutralize germs to which you may have been exposed," Dr. Smith says. "When you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s defense system is weakened. This leaves you open to catching an illness and makes it more difficult for you to recover if you do get sick."
2. Hunger Can Come Out Of Nowhere
Setting everyday hunger aside, if you go a night without good sleep, you might notice that you feel positively insatiable the following day.
"Both leptin, the hormone that effects feeling full, and ghrelin, the hormone that regulates appetite, are impacted by a night of poor sleep," sleep expert Dr. Jeff Rodgers, DMD, D-ABDSM, D-ASBA, tells Bustle. "After one night of missed sleep, you will be hungrier and not feel as full."
3. Your Skin Will Feel Drier
Ever notice how your skin feels dry and looks dull after a night of poor sleep? That's because "your body uses sleep to remove toxins from your skin," Matthew Ross, COO of My Slumber Yard, tells Bustle. "As such, if you don't sleep, your skin may start to show signs of [...] blotchiness [...] bumps, and flakes."
4. Everything Will Be Annoying
Sleep has a profound impact on a person's emotional wellbeing, Dr. Smith says. So if you go without, you may notice that you feel extra cranky and irritable the following day.
"Without the proper amount of sleep, it is hard for people to think rationally and regulate their emotions," Dr. Smith says. "People who don’t spend enough time at total rest tend to become grumpy and emotionally erratic."
5. Coordination Will Go Down The Tubes
When you're sleepy, you'll be more prone to dropping things, tripping, and generally feeling more clumsy. But even more importantly, "people who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to drive drowsy and increase their chances of getting into a car accident," Dr. Smith says. "Tired drivers experience slowed reaction times and can even have a 'microsleep' while behind the wheel." That's why it's important to talk to your doctor if poor sleep happens frequently for you.
6. Brain Fog Can Take Over
"Quality sleep is crucial to memory formation," Dr. Smith says. "While the body is at rest, the brain processes information captured throughout the day and turns it into memories."
That's why, if you go a night without good sleep, you may feel foggy and "off" the next day. "Without proper sleep each night, your brain isn’t able to properly sort through and store all of your experiences, and your memory may be affected," he says.
7. Toxins Can Build Up In The Brain
"Sleep, and the lack thereof, has profound effects on your brain," Terry Cralle, RN, clinical sleep educator and sleep consultant for Saatva, tells Bustle. "In fact, one recent study found that after just one night of poor sleep, participants had elevated levels of beta-amyloid in their brains. This is important because beta-amyloid is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease."
While you won't have a problem after just one night of bad sleep, it is important to keep it from turning into a habit, as chronic sleep deprivation may increase your risk. "Not only is getting enough sleep crucial to memory formation, but it also helps us fight off dementia," Cralle says.
8. It Can Throw Off Your Hormones
9. Your Ability To Problem-Solve Shuts Down
"Cognitive performance, like the ability to problem-solve in a timely, creative, and efficient manner, can be impaired as a result of a sleepless night," sleep expert and licensed psychologist Vanessa H. Roddenberry, PhD, tells Bustle. And if you've ever tried to make a decision while tired, you likely already know this to be true.
Here's why it happens: "Lack of sleep hampers communication between the brain’s frontal lobes," Dr. Roddenberry asys. "When the lobes can’t communicate, it’s difficult to sustain attention."
10. There's Often Increased Inflammation
11. Cortisol Raises & Stresses You Out
Even after just one night of bad sleep, you can experience more stress-related issues in your body. "Cortisol rises when you lose sleep," Brantner says. "This has a negative impact on stress, which can leave you feeling anxious and agitated the following day."
The important thing to remember, though, is that it's not the end of the world. "So often, when someone has a sleepless night, and experiences one of these 'weird' results, they panic and start to make drastic behavioral changes that they hope will help them sleep," Dr. Roddenberry says. "The great irony is that often the things we do to try to get more sleep backfire and actually end up hurting our chances for getting a good night’s rest."
You don't, for example, want to take a bunch of naps or go to bed extra early to make up for it. Instead, stay awake until your usual bedtime the following night, Dr. Roddenberry says, and try to sleep well. Then, wake up at your usual time in the morning, and you should be back on track.