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Physical Effects On The Body Due To Sleep Deprivation

By Spencer Campos

Our human body has always been regarded as a complicated system with many subsystems that work hand in hand with each other. Therefore instead of focusing on treating individual symptoms, the traditional practice of the Chinese medicine focuses on balanced treatment of the entire body. Since our body organs are connected to each other one way or the other, reaction of any kind felt on the physical or mental health can inevitably trigger an affect across to the other area as well. Although everyone knows about the harmful effect to the body when we are deprived of sleep, recent study has uncovered more ill-effects than we traditionally know of.

Most people are already aware of the more immediate effects of sleep problems, such as insomnia. There is a noticeable drop in alertness and cognitive ability, which can sometimes appear to be cumulative if the lack of sleep is prolonged. Sensory information can sometimes be processed slower than normal. There are also some studies that point to partial temporary memory loss as an effect. The ability to control body temperature is also disrupted, with some people losing the ability to regulate body heat altogether after prolonged periods with disrupted or broken sleep cycles. Significant lack of sleep has also been known to speed up the aging process of the skin, making a person seem older than they actually are.

However, there are even more problems for those with chronic lack of sleep or broken sleep cycles. According to research recently completed by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the metabolism of a person may also be subject to side effects of sleep deprivation. There were profound differences in the metabolic rates of the people who were subjected to controlled levels of sleep deprivation. The results showed that glucose tolerance, one of the key indicators used to determine whether someone has diabetes, changed. Rather than showing a normal glucose tolerance for their age, the sleep deprived test subjects exhibited the tolerance of someone in the early stages of diabetes. The results seem to indicate that the body’s ability to metabolize glucose is hampered by sleep debt.

Lack of sleep is speculated to have played a key role in the triggering of diabetes and this is also considered as a main contributing element in the growing statistic of diabetic patients in advanced countries. This research has noted many other symptoms which is inclusive of hypertension, speedy aging process of the skin, retarded metabolism rate that may eventually cause obesity and also many problems associated with memory. As the research only lasted 16 days, a short duration typical for such study, it is anyone’s guess that the recorded side effects and symptoms could have deteriorated further if the sleep deprivation test duration was prolonged.

It is noted that this specific study on sleep deprivation is unprecedented as the research team’s focus is not on cognitive effects. Although there has been many unproven theory what physical side effects to the body are due to sleep deprivation, no effort has been driven to ascertain what those effects and symptoms are and therefore this research is really timely given the fact that most of the working class people has less than the suggested eight hours of sleep everyday. Although there is only an insignificant 3 hours difference between having eight vs five hours of sleep everyday, the earlier mentioned effects and symptoms were shown based on test subjects having only 5 hours of sleep every 24 hours duration.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Campos, Spencer "Physical Effects On The Body Due To Sleep Deprivation." Physical Effects On The Body Due To Sleep Deprivation. 2 Jul. 2010. 26 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Campos, S (2010, July 2). Physical Effects On The Body Due To Sleep Deprivation. Retrieved December 26, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Campos, Spencer "Physical Effects On The Body Due To Sleep Deprivation"

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