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The Negative Effects of a Lack of Sleep

The Negative Effects of a Lack of Sleep

How much sleep do you get on average per night? This is a really important question to consider in order to understand how your sleep might be affecting your overall health and bodily functions.


Sleep is an integral part of our lives and feeds into so many areas that you may not be aware of. This is very worrying when you consider that 35.2% of adults in the US report getting less than the daily average of 7-9 hours of sleep [i].

The Sleep Foundation and Sleep Advisor also share some additional statistics, including:

  • 6% of working adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night [i]
  • Lack of sleep costs the US economy $411 Billion annually [ii]
  • Over 72% of high school students get less than the daily recommended amount of sleep [i]
  • Around 75% of adults with depression suffer from insomnia [iv].

Research into the amount we sleep seems to point towards the conclusion that not enough people are getting the required daily sleep; but what do these statistics mean and what are the negative effects of sleeping too little?

The Negative Effects of a Lack of Sleep

Did you know that the amount you sleep can affect physical performance, mental health and even increase your risk of death according to certain studies?

For instance, the American Thoracic Society states that poor sleep or a lack of sleep can lead to depression or anxiety [xii]. They also suggest that there is a link between sleep and athletic performance in competitive sports.

Andrew M. Watson’s study into ‘Sports Performance’ states that: “Along with being an integral part of the recovery and adaptive process between bouts of exercise, accumulating evidence suggests that increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality in athletes are associated with improved performance and competitive success” [xxi]. The study also highlights how sleep may reduce the risk of injury, illness and enhance performance levels. In addition, another study points out that amount we sleep seems to be correlated to reaction times, speed, accuracy and can even aid your memory too [xii].

3-5% of all obesity could also be caused by lack of sleep, with Harvard University suggesting that people who sleep for 5 hours or less could experience an increased appetite [iii].

A lack of sleep may not only be harmful to your body but also put people around you at risk too by how the body's wake time affects performance to the level of which alcohol levels in the blood does.

Multiple studies have looked into the effects that being awake has on your body and they suggest that when an adult is awake for 18 hours, they have the same performance levels as someone with a blood content of 0.05%, whilst being awake for 24 hours is the same performance as having an alcohol blood content of 0.1% (which is higher than the legal limit in the US and UK of 0.08%) [v] [vi] [vii].

This is an alarming statistic, especially when you consider that in the US alone there are around 6,000 fatal car crashes annually that could be attributed to drowsy driving [viii].

The list of negatives that could be associated with a lack of sleep also includes the following according to NHS England [xii]:

  • You are more at risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • A lack of sleep can negatively affect your immune system
  • It can make you more irritable and negatively affect your mood
  • It can put you more at risk to clinical depression and anxiety disorders
  • A loss of libido can be experienced with a lack of sleep
  • Lack of sleep can cause infertility due to how it affects reproductive hormones

But the amount of sleep isn't the only important factor here, the quality of your sleep is crucial too.

Sleep Tight Stack, Someone waking up

Ways to Improve Your Sleep

There are multiple ways in which we can improve the quality and quantity of sleep we get each night. NHS England advises that you stick to a consistent bedtime routine, wind down before bed and make your room sleep-friendly (such as making sure the temperature is between 18C-24C) [xiii].

But what we put into our bodies can also play a huge role in the way we sleep. It's one of the reasons why we have launched the Sleep Tight Stack at Nourished, to help you support a better quality of sleep.

Our Sleep Tight Stack contains a calming and rejuvenating blend of high impact vitamins and nutrients, lovingly formulated to help nourish and improve your sleep.

Packed with impressive nutritional properties, we’ve combined two layers of tart cherry and ashwagandha with single layers of 5-HTP, vitamin D3 and zinc.

The Sleep Benefits of Tart Cherry

Clinical trials have shown how tart cherry can increase melatonin levels, improve total sleep time and help reduce the negative effects of insomnia [xiv].

Cherry juice has also been shown to positively affect sleep efficiency [xv]. The same study also suggested that tart cherry could reduce inflammation which can lead to positively affecting insomnia.

The Sleep Benefits of Ashwagandha

Scientific studies have shown how supplementing ashwagandha can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety levels, [xvi] therefore resulting in a significant improvement in quality of sleep.

When supplementing this ingredient for a period of 6 weeks, one study highlighted that ashwagandha could improve the overall quality of sleep by "significantly improving the NRS (Non-restorative sleep) condition in healthy subjects" [xvii].

The Sleep Benefits of 5-HTP

This powerful amino acid can aid the quality of which we sleep by encouraging healthy sleep cycles and supporting serotonin production (which will later convert to melatonin).

5-HTP can increase REM sleep by 48% through its serotonin production [ix] [x] and studies have shown that this ingredient aids in improving sleep quality, whilst also helping with mood regulation, stress and anxiety reduction, and even has the ability to act as an appetite suppressant [xi].

You can read our full blog post on 5-HTP, and its sleep saving benefits here.

The Sleep Benefits of Zinc

Some trials into the effectiveness of zinc on sleep have found that this could improve sleep onset latency within a 12-week period [xviii], whilst also potentially aiding and optimising sleep quality.

You can read more about the health benefits of zinc (which is far beyond just sleep) here.

The Sleep Benefits of Vitamin D3       

Vitamin D3 is an extremely powerful ingredient that is shown to improve immunity and increase the body's T-Cell count (which we have covered and gone into detail here), but this can also affect our sleep too.

Vitamin D can play a role in how the body regulates sleep [xix], whilst there is also a correlation between how low levels of this ingredient in the body can result in increased levels of sleep deprivation and a poorer quality of sleep [xx].

Want to Learn More?

We have packed all of these scientifically backed ingredients into a single gummy stack, freshly 3d-printed and delivered right to your door. You can get your very own Sleep Tight Stack by visiting our store.

If you would like to read more of the studies, claims and references cited in this article then please visit the links below:

[i] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-facts-statistics

[ii] https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleep-statistics/

[iii] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sleep/

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181883/

[v] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10984335/

[vi] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11235795/

[vii] https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/drowsy_driving.html

[viii] https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/features/drowsy-driving.html

[ix] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3308389/

[x]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0013469471901477

[xi] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881104042619

[xii] https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/sleep-and-performance.pdf

[xiii] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

[xiv] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20438325/

[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5617749/

[xvi] https://www.cureus.com/articles/25730

[xvii] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945720301246

[xviii] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mnfr.201600882

[xix] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32156230/

[xx] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945718306014

[xxi] https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2017/11000/sleep_and_athletic_performance.11.aspx

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