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We all know the feeling when we haven’t slept long enough or well enough. We’re groggy, tired and irritable. While sleep loss has been known to cause all kinds of accidents, there is a deeper effect on our long term mental and physical health. The following are just a few negative effects of lack of sleep on your health.

Sleep plays an important role in learning. Without enough sleep your attention and problem solving is impaired. You’ll experience a reduced ability to concentrate. Interestingly, during the night, various sleep cycles help consolidate memories. Without enough sleep, your brain cannot remember what was learned during the day.

If you want to keep your skin looking younger, it is imperative that you get enough sleep. We’re all familiar with the dark circles and puffy eyes after an all-nighter. Yet, chronic sleep loss may cause fine lines and consistent dark circles under the eyes. This is because when you don’t sleep enough, your body is stressed. A stress hormone called cortisol is released. In large amounts, cortisol has been linked to a break down in skin collagen.

Losing out on sleep can even affect your sex life in a negative way. Sleep deprived men and women have less interest in sex and lower libidos. This is likely caused by sleepiness, increased tension and lower energy.

If you’ve recently gained weight and don’t know why, you may want to look to lack of sleep as a cause. Sleep loss is related to an increase in hunger and appetite. There are even studies being conducted to determine whether it is related to obesity.

Chronic loss of sleep can cause much more serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you want to feel smarter, younger, sexier and healthier, I’d recommend getting a good night’s sleep.

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