What happens if you don't sleep?

When you don’t get enough sleep you increase your risk for certain cancers, diabetes, and even car accidents. Not getting enough sleep can also lower your sex drive, decrease your immune system, cause cognition issues, and weight gain.

If you find yourself part of this no-sleep category, you’re not the only one. Approximately one in three adult Americans isn’t getting enough sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

Here are the details of what happens to your body when you don’t log enough hours under the covers.

1. You Get Sick

Awake and Sick

Losing sleep can impair your body’s ability to fight off illness. This makes it easier to get sick. Researchers even uncovered that there’s a reciprocal relationship between sleep and your immune system. You may lose additional sleep while your body fights off a bug if you get sick and haven’t had enough shut-eye.

2. Your Heart Suffers

Heart Health

Both short (less than five hours of sleep per night) and long (nine or more per night) sleep durations are shown to have a negative impact on heart health, according to an analysis published in the European Heart Journal. In particular, your chances of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke are greatly increased with less sleep.

3. Your Cancer Risk Increases

Cancer Risk

Shortened sleep is associated with higher rates of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, according to the AASM’s sleep statement. Overnight shift workers may take the brunt of this burden. The good news is that both men and women who slept seven or more hours per night had the best mortality rates in the group.

4. You Can’t Think

Trouble Thinking

Even missing one night of sleep can lead to some major cognition issues. In a study published by Experimental Brain Research, a group of 18 men were given a task to complete. The first task was completed following a full night’s sleep. The next task was completed after skipping a night of sleep. Executive control, including memory, decision-making, reasoning, and problem solving suffered along with reaction time and alertness after a night without sleep.

5. You Forget Stuff

Forgetting Things

Not only can missed sleep make you more forgetful, there’s also a growing body of research around sleep and its impact on learning and memory. Researchers suggest that sleep is critical to the process of consolidating the things we learn in the brain. In other words, getting proper rest is what we need to lock in new information and commit it to memory.

6. Your Libido Lowers

Low Libido

Young men who lost sleep over a one-week period showed a decrease in testosterone levels, according a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Sleeping five or fewer hours reduced sex hormone levels by as much as 10 to 15 percent. The men also reported that their overall mood and vigor declined with each consecutive night of interrupted rest.

7. You Gain Weight

Gaining Weight

A study published in Sleep and Breathing examined the relationship between sleep and weight in 21,469 adults over the age of 20. The people who slept less than five hours each night over the course of the three-year study were more likely to gain weight and eventually become obese. Those who slept between seven and eight hours fared better on the scale.

8. Your Risk of Diabetes Increases

Diabetes Risk

Along with a bigger waistline, people who don’t get enough sleep (or who get too much) may increase their risk of developing adult-onset diabetes. Researchers examined 10 separate studies focused on sleep and the condition. Their findings uncovered that seven to eight hours of rest is the optimal range to avoid insulin issues.

9. You’re Accident Prone

Sleep While Driving

You are three times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident if you get six or fewer hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The most vulnerable people are shift workers, commercial drivers, business travelers, and anyone else working long or odd hours. Think twice before getting behind the wheel if you’ve accumulated sleep debt.

10. Your Looks Suffer

Looks Suffer

In a study, a group of people between the ages of 30 and 50 were evaluated based on their sleep habits and the condition of their skin. The results revealed that those with too little sleep had more fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and marked laxity, or looseness of the skin. The poor sleepers were also more dissatisfied with their appearance than their well-rested counterparts.

More Than Beauty Rest

Getting enough sleep isn’t just for your vanity. It could save your life. Take some time to consider all you’re risking before you continue your late night TV marathon. Then, turn out the lights and enjoy your seven to eight hours of beauty — and health — rest.