Sleep Deprivation and the Profound Effects on Your Well being

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Do you have a hard time sleeping through the night? Are you up tossing and turning in the wee hours, unable to get the rest you so desperately need? Unfortunately, it is very common to not get enough sleep. But sleep deprivation effects can be serious, and chronic sleep deprivation can have a lot of harmful side effects.

In this article, I will explain the side effects of sleep deprivation and what to do to fix the problem.

I will cover:

A tired woman yawns in her office in front of computer with coffee, sleep deprivation effects.


Sleep deprivation effects on your health and wellbeing

Not getting enough sleep can lead to many harmful effects on your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep affects your entire body, from your vision to your heart to your brain.

Here are some of the sleep deprivation effects to be aware of:

  1. Increases your risk of diabetes.
  2. Promotes Fat Storing Hormone resistance.
  3. Raises blood pressure.
  4. Ups your risk of a heart attack.
  5. Contributes to obesity.
  6. Affects your mood and mental state.
  7. Increases your risk of getting a stroke.
  8. Makes you more susceptible to injury and accidents.
  9. Decreases attention, focus, and memory.
  10. Affects your vision.

Drawing of human body with arrows and text of sleep deprivation effects.

As you can see, the side effects of chronic sleep deprivation are widespread. And they are quite serious. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is unable to function properly and things start to break down. Eventually, the effects can lead to serious health conditions and even disease.

So what leads to sleep deprivation in the first place? What causes lack of sleep? Read on to discover the one thing that is often at the root of the problem.


What causes sleep deprivation?

When you put your head on the pillow at night, why can’t you sleep? What is preventing you from drifting off into a restful, peaceful sleep?

The number one thing behind sleep problems is your body being in fight-or-flight mode.

This is the same state of stress that you’d be in if you were being chased by a tiger. Your adrenaline and cortisol levels rise, and your body is prepared for emergency survival action. Unsurprisingly, it is hard to drift off into sleep in this heightened state.

Unfortunately, our bodies are in fight-or-flight mode way too often in the modern world.

We are constantly stressed, and our bodies are taking a toll.

When our sympathetic nervous system is activated and in fight-or-flight mode, it sends signals to the body to be on high alert. One of the effects is that our muscles will become tense and will not relax.

A woman in bed holds her hand to her back, tight muscles, tension, can’t sleep.

When your muscles will not let go and are very tight, that will prevent you from being able to drift off into sleep. So the real reason you can’t sleep is because your muscles aren’t in a relaxed state.

Now that you know that the root of the problem is your tight muscles, there are several things you can do to address the issue and finally get relaxed.


What to do if you have trouble-sleeping

The best sleep deprivation treatment involves getting your muscles relaxed. This allows your body to drift off without so much tension.

So if you are having problems sleeping, then give these three steps a try:

Step 1: Stretch your muscles

Here is the most effective way to use stretching to help you sleep better:

  1. First, pay close attention to what muscle or muscles have tension in them before bed.
  2. Once you’ve identified what muscles are tight, you will want to stretch the opposing muscle. This may seem counterintuitive, but stretching the opposite muscle will actually help to melt the tight muscle (learn more about this stretching technique here.)
  3. If you need help identifying the opposite muscle to stretch, refer to the chart below.

The more you can get your muscles to relax, the easier it will be to get to sleep at night. That is why stretching before bed can be so helpful. It is a great habit to add to your nightly routine.

Agonist (prime mover) Antagonist (opposing muscle)
Biceps Triceps
Pectoralis major Trapezius/rhomboids
Rectus abdominis Erector spinae
Iliopsoas Gluteus maximus
Quadriceps Hamstrings
Hip adductor Gluteus medius
Tibialis Anterior Gastrocnemius

Step 2: Try acupressure

Another very useful strategy is acupressure. Acupressure is a hands-on technique that you can do yourself in the comfort of your own home. It can help to release areas of tension and even pain in the body.

To explore the technique of acupressure and learn how to do it yourself, watch these videos:

Along with stretching, acupressure is another strategy that can help get your body into a total state of relaxation so that you can sleep better.

Young woman massaging her tight muscles, relieving tension and muscle relaxation.

Step 3: Get enough electrolytes

Your muscles need a certain balance of electrolytes to stay healthy. There are three minerals involved in muscle relaxation that you need to make sure you are getting enough of. These include:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium

If you are low in any of these electrolytes, that can affect your muscles’ ability to relax. So consider electrolyte supplementation as necessary.


Key takeaways

If you have a hard time sleeping, then you may be at risk for a wide range of sleep deprivation effects. These include everything from increased risk of diabetes to vision problems to trouble concentrating. Addressing the root of the problem and getting the rest you need is very important.

The real reason you can’t sleep is that your muscles are in fight-or-flight mode and are unable to relax.

Piece of paper with stress crossed out and relax with a smiley face, no stress, relax more concept.

To help calm your body down and relax your muscles, try these tips:

  1. Identify your tense muscles and stretch the opposing muscle before bed.
  2. Try acupressure techniques for stress relief.
  3. Get plenty of magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Give these strategies a try and apply them in your daily routines. Then leave me a comment down below letting me know how they work for you!


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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.


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