Is sleep really so important? | 9Lives
Reading Time: 4 min

We’ve heard it time and time again, sleep is good for our health, it helps us do things. So, what happens when we don’t get enough shut-eye at night and what are the consequences?

We went investigating: Is sleep really so important?

Why do we need to sleep?

Many experts equate getting enough rest at night with the same level of importance as nutrition and proper exercise. After all, it fuels your brain and helps your cells regenerate.

We have busy schedules, unfortunately, which means we’re probably not getting enough sleep at night. But getting enough good quality sleep is essential for brain health, emotional health and physical health.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Deep Sleep Co. (@thedeepsleepco) on

Brain health

Studies have proven that improved learning and concentration skills are very much linked to an individual getting enough sleep at night. The brain forms new pathways and patterns, stores memories and attempts to solve problems whilst you sleep.

Decision making, problem solving and creativity are all traits affected by sleep.

Physical health

Processes that take place during sleep aids your body in repairing blood vessels, maintaining hormone levels, supporting healthy development, growth and repairs, as well as building and maintaining a healthy immune system.

The long term lack of sleep has also been linked to medical conditions like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Emotional Health

Ever feel super moody and ready to fight the world following a bad night’s rest? There’s a reason for that.

Mood, behaviour and motivation are all linked to sleep. Increased PMS, increased anxiety and mood swings can all result from not getting enough good quality sleep.

Side-effects of not getting enough sleep

So Fido is keeping you up at night, every night? That’s really not a good thing.

Despite people stating that you’re able to “train your brain” on less sleep, missing out on even 1-2 hours of sleep at night, for a couple days, has the same effect as not having slept at all.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Deep Sleep Co. (@thedeepsleepco) on

Let’s look at the possible side-effects of not getting enough sleep:

1. Weight gain

Poor sleep has been strongly linked to obesity, for a number of reasons:

Lack of sleep causes an energy dip during the day, prompting you to reach for higher calorie foods as an energy source. Not only are you eating more because you’re tired, but the hormones that control satiety and fullness are impacted as well, which is why you’re so hungry when you’re tired.

Throw in a lack of motivation to work out, and you’ve got a couple of reasons why those kilos are starting to pile on.

2. Lack of concentration and focus

You’ve had a rough night’s sleep and you’re struggling to focus on simple tasks the next day. Sound familiar?

That’s because sleep deprivation has been proven to impact the neurons in your brain. The lack of sleep causes them to fire slowly and not function as effectively as they should, impacting memory and cognitive functions. This means that apart from just being a slight hindrance, it can actually be really dangerous.

Studies have found that the chances of making a poor decisions and having a slower reaction time while driving are increased when the driver is sleep-deprived.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Diana Braybrooke (@diana.braybrooke) on

3. Your athletic performance may be hampered

Studies have shown that good sleep at night helps athletes improve on their reaction time, speed and accuracy. The result of not sleeping enough was the opposite of this, with decreased speed and reaction time noted.

4. Higher risk of heart disease and stroke

One of the reasons why sleep deprivation may be bad for your heart is because certain chemicals are released, if adequate periods of rest are not achieved, that mess with blood pressure and heart rate. This puts you at risk of increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

It has also been found that sleeping for too few hours increases calcium deposits in the arteries, which can lead to arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

5. Anxiety and depression

A definite link has been found between lack of sleep, anxiety and depression.

It has been found that people who suffer from insomnia are 10 times more likely to suffer from clinical depression than those who have a regular sleeping pattern. Other research has shown that nearly all people who suffer from psychiatric disorders have some form of disrupted sleep.

6. Impacted immune function and increased in inflammation

You might be onto something if you believe that lack of sleep is making you sick.

Studies have shown that immune function is suppressed due to a lack of sleep, whilst inflammation increases. It’s thought that our T-cells, which are the cells responsible for taking care of foreign material that can cause colds and flus, decreases when we are sleep deprived. Conversely, the levels of inflammatory cytokines increase which can lead to inflammation.

7. Behavioural effects

Even a slight lack of sleep, think 1.5 hours less than usual, may affect your mood. You may feel angry, irritable, sad and more prone to stress.

Studies have also indicated that sleep deprivation may cause a decrease in facial recognition, which means that you may not pick up when someone else is happy or angry, and makes it difficult to process emotional cues.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Deep Sleep Co. (@thedeepsleepco) on

I’m sure the seven side-effects of not getting enough sleep is enough to say that sleep is both beneficial and necessary in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So what do you think, is sleep really so important? Let us know in the comments.


Just a girl, wishing she were a cat. You can find this peanut-butter enthusiast curled up in a sunny corner with a good book and a glass of wine.

Write A Comment