What are some of the side effects of sleep disorders?

BY: Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee (MBBS; MD; MIPS; MIAPP)

Phobias

What are some of the side effects of sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders can have significant repercussions that manifest in numerous ways. Sleep studies have shown that there are four stages of the sleep cycle: wake, light sleep, deep sleep, and rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep. If this sleep-wake cycle isn’t properly followed, problems will develop.

With insomnia, you’re never really asleep, and you’re never really awake. From physical to mental to emotional, the side effects of sleep deprivation or irregular sleep patterns may be far-reaching and hard to pin down at first. Even more concerning is that when left untreated, lacking hours of sleep can accumulate over time and exacerbate underlying issues and medical conditions. Disturbed sleep can cause certain side effects in individuals that our experts will explain.

7 Major Sleep Disorder Side Effects

Seven common side effects associated with sleep disorders include:

Fatigue
Memory loss
Mood swings
Weight gain
Poor performance
Increased risk of injury
Health problems

This is why it is important to address potential or existing sleep disorders promptly. The longer one waits, the harder it may be to recognise and treat the problem effectively. Let’s explore some of the most common side effects of poor sleep quality in depth.

1.Fatigue

Daytime sleepiness leads to fatigue and tiredness. Many people who suffer from sleep disorders and other related issues often experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, decreased energy levels, and a general feeling of listlessness. This can impact overall well-being leading to further negative physical or mental health effects and even reduced productivity or performance. Individuals need to understand the extent of the consequences that can result from improper sleep or abnormalities in sleeping patterns to seek appropriate treatment so they can lead happy and healthy life.

2.Memory Loss

Sleep deprivation can have surprisingly far-reaching effects on our brain’s ability to remember and learn new things. Studies show that sleep-deprived people do not perform as well on memory or cognitive tests, or in tasks requiring memorisation, as those who get a full night’s rest. This is because during sleep our bodies undergo vital processes that are necessary for proper memory retention and learning. When we deprive ourselves of adequate sleep, these processes become impeded, and thus our long-term ability to remember information decreases. We fail in terms of remembering and obtaining new knowledge.

3.Mood Swings

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. When the body and mind are deprived of their necessary rest, it can result in drastic mood changes in physical health. People who lack sufficient sleep may experience feelings such as depression, irritability, chronic Insomnia, and anxiety – all of which can severely impact their quality of life and have long-term effects on physical and mental health. Feeling constantly exhausted can also reduce concentration levels, impair decision-making skills, and lead to a decrease in productivity. It is therefore important to ensure an adequate amount of restful sleep is obtained each night to maintain balance in both physical and mental health.

4.Weight Gain

Lack of sleep has many unexpected consequences, one of which is an increase in hunger and potential weight gain. During REM sleep behaviour disorder, studies have shown that inadequate rest leads to higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for triggering hunger signals. Furthermore, reduced sleep can cause insulin sensitivity to decrease, leading to higher levels of fat retention and overall body fat. For those looking to maintain their health, sleeping 7-9 hours per night is essential for controlling cravings and keeping their bodies balanced.

5.Poor Performance

Daytime sleepiness takes its toll on more than just our physical and mental health. It can also have severe impacts on our daily performance in physical activity, leading to poorer grades in school, a lack of productivity at work, failing a physical exam, and even an increase in the number of errors made due to decreased concentration and energy. To stay optimally productive and healthy, people with insomnia must understand the importance of resting enough each night. That means setting aside time for sleep, adhering to a consistent sleep schedule and taking the necessary sleep medicine. It also means avoiding activities such as using screens or viewing bright lights right before bed that can disturb our quality of sleep. If we take care of ourselves first and ensure proper rest, then our minds will follow and allow us to reach beyond even what we thought were our limits!

6.Increased Risk of Injury

The effects of daytime sleepiness can be disastrous. Poor sleep can impair the body’s ability to focus, leading to an increased risk of accidents or injury. When faced with sleep deprivation, even the most competent and focused individuals can have difficulty concentrating. A lack of sleep often has a debilitating effect on the human brain’s ability to think clearly and logically. As a result, the likelihood of having an accident or incurring an injury rises significantly when someone is sleep-deprived.

7.Health Problems

Daytime sleepiness can also cause health problems. Unfortunately, oftentimes when people are busy with life they put off getting enough rest, thinking that it is not important. In truth, however, it is imperative to prioritise rest if you want to ensure that your body is functioning optimally. Sleep disorders can lead to a variety of health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. If you are experiencing any of these health problems or risk factors, speak with your healthcare provider about your sleep issues, as these can be signs of a serious underlying sleep disorder.

Other Side Effects

Some other side effects of sleep disorders are:

    • Sleep paralysis
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Sleep attacks (narcolepsy)
    • Central sleep apnea
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Unusual heart rate
    • Circadian rhythm disorder

In extreme cases, lack of sleep can lead to bipolar disorder, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

Treating Sleep Disorders

Sleep specialists say that sleep disorders are no laughing matter. Treating sleep disorders can lead to improved quality of life and a decreased risk of health problems. Individuals must make the effort to get adequate rest to maintain their superior cognitive functioning and reduce the risk associated with impaired focus. Behavioural therapy from a trained psychiatrist can help. Dr Sagnik Mukherjee is one such trained healthcare provider and the head of the Mental Health Research Centre in Kolkata. Contact us or walk into our clinic to learn more about treating sleep disorders.