How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Health

[Last Updated: June 29th 2013]
By: Dr. Nima Shei MD.

Sleep is a very complex process that consists of different stages. While you’re asleep your brain is preparing you for the day ahead . Optimal amount of sleep varies by age and as we grow older we need less sleep: While a newborn needs 12-18 hours of sleep, a 5-10 year-old needs 10-12 hours of sleep. For an average adult 7 to 8 hours of sleep is enough. If you sleep less than this, some changes occur in your body that may cause different problems in long term. These changes are not only in the brain, but also in various part of the body: For example the amount of dopamine in the sleep-deprived body is decreasing significantly. Consequently, the brain craves more for sugar, sex or nicotine to overcome the lack of dopamine.

Another hormone that is affected by lack of sleep is human growth hormone (HGH) which is secreted from hypophysis (pituitary gland) and is responsible for growth, as well as mood and energy. Low levels of this hormone will cause depression and lack of energy. Learn more about how lack of sleep better in this video: