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Sleep is essential to your overall physical health and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can cause complications that range from slight annoyances to severe debilitations.
Many people with insomnia are constantly fatigued and unable to concentrate. This can lead to poor performance at work or school. People with insomnia also have a higher rate of missing work. Agitation and poor mood can accompany insomnia. The sleep-deprived often behave badly toward others. This factor and reduced performance can damage professional and educational careers.
Chronic sleep deprivation slows reaction time and the ability to focus. This is how insomnia can cause both car accidents and accidents with commercial machinery. Driving while sleep deprived, with the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. These accidents often end in permanent disabilities or death for those involved.
According to the Harvard Health Publications, living only on short bits of sleep can result in metabolic changes in the body. These changes may be linked to obesity. Children and teenagers are at an increased risk for this problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies suggest that children who get inadequate sleep are at a higher risk for becoming obese as they age.
There are many mental health disorders that can contribute to insomnia. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Yet chronic insomnia can bring on depression and anxiety. This sets up a dangerous cycle that can further compromise one’s mental health.
There are many chronic diseases linked to insufficient sleep. Some of these are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. Insomnia can also cause chronic, debilitating headaches. If you already suffer from any of these health issues, a lack of sleep can only worsen your symptoms.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Oct 13, 2014: Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD
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