5 SCARY Things That Happen When You Don’t Sleep!

Sleep is something that I used to take for granted when I was younger. I thought I could get more done if I slept less – like sneaking in a workout at 12am instead of going to bed, or pulling all nighters in college to finish up a paper instead of just getting it done earlier in the week. I was a perfectionist and a procrastinator.

My night owl habits started in 7th grade and I didn’t stop this unhealthy habit of not sleeping enough until just a couple years ago. Unfortunately, it took me a LONG time to realize that my lack of sleep was one of the main reasons for my weight issues and stress! 

Crazy right? You wouldn’t think so! But nearly 87% of Americans say they have trouble falling asleep, and if you’re one of them, listen up! I want to help you sleep more because I need you to be happy and healthy! So I’ll start off by scaring you into sleeping more :)

Here are 5 things that could happen if you don’t sleep enough!

#1. You’ll start looking old

You know how you get dark circles under your eyes after a few nights of bad sleep? Turns out that if you continuously don’t sleep enough, those eye bags are basically permanent.

Research shows that when you don’t get enough rest, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. In excess amounts, it can break down skin collagen – the protein that keeps your skin smooth and young.

On top of that, lack of sleep makes your body release less human growth hormone – the thing you need for daily tissue repair. It’s only during DEEP sleep that human growth hormone can be released. So if you want to stay looking young…channel your inner sleeping beauty!

#2. Your memory will deteriorate

I’ve always had such a hard time remembering people’s names or choreography for a POP Pilates routine, but I never knew it was something I could control!

If you’re trying to learn something new, like a language, you can learn it to a certain point with practice. But then when you go to bed, something happens to strengthen those practice skills that actually makes you learn it better. This process is called consolidation.

Studies have shown that college students who don’t get enough sleep have worse grades than those who do.

So bottom line? Better sleep means you’ll learn better and remember more.

#3. Your creativity will diminish

Sleeping more makes you emotionally and creatively sharp! If you’re an artist, a writer, a musician, an entrepreneur or anyone who wants to get creative and work outside the box – you need to get adequate sleep to perform your best!

While you sleep, your brain not only consolidates memories to make them stronger, it also reorganizes and restructures them. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College actually found that people can strengthen the emotional parts of their memory during sleep.

So…this means that if I’m trying to choreograph a new POP Pilates routine during the day, and I’m having a hard time remembering that after the 8 planks jacks I need to go to 4 hip twists during the chorus, then my brain will help me memorize that during sleep. My feelings of confusion during this part will be deposited somewhere in my brain. So the next day when I get to that very part where I keep messing up, I’ll remember “OH CONFUSION! This is the plank jack to hip twist part!”

Clever huh?

#4. You’ll gain weight

Unfortunately, this is something that I didn’t realize until a few years ago. Lack of sleep messed with my metabolism, which messed up the hormones in my blood, making me feel hungry all the time. So I ended up overeating without really knowing it. And to add on to that…my lack of sleep caused stress on my body which resulted in high levels of the hormone cortisol and then an extra deposit of fat in my lower belly specifically.

Similarly, researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat, whereas dieters who were sleep deprived lost more muscle mass. And you KNOW you don’t want to be losing that muscle we all work so hard for!

#5. You’ll feel angry for no reason

Sleep and mood are very closely connected! When you don’t sleep enough, you become irritable and stressed out!

University of Pennsylvania researchers tested subjects on 4.5 hrs of sleep a night for a week and the people reported feeling angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. And then you’re likely to enter a vicious cycle…where you can’t sleep because you’re stressed out!

When the subjects of the study resumed their regular sleep hours, they reported feeling so much happier! So if you feel down in the dumps sometimes and have no idea why, check your sleep patterns.

Okay, now here’s how you can get more sleep…and better quality sleep!

  • Stretch or meditate before bed to slow down your body and prepare it for sleep.
  • Have an intense workout earlier in the day. This always tires me out and makes me sleep like a baby.
  • Set your phone to “do not disturb” so that you’re not answering texts late at night.
  • Try not to look at your phone in bed. The light makes it hard for me to fall asleep.
  • Try reading a book before bed. This helps calm my mind and naturally makes me drift away.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night to create a routine that your body can follow.

Usually these tips work for me, but sometimes when I’m jet lagged and my time zones are all super messed up, I take ZzzQuil to help me fall asleep. It makes me fall asleep in as little as 20 minutes! It’s my little trick for getting my 7-8 hours of sleep after big trips. I don’t have time or energy to waste on readjusting to time, so if any of you have trouble falling asleep you might want to try ZzzQuil. I always get quality sleep and wake up feeling really refreshed.

And don’t worry, it’s not a pain med. I’ve never become dependent on it and I only use it when I need it. All it does is block the histamine in your body to help you fall asleep fast.

So guys, I hope you have decided to make sleep a part of your daily routine! It’s just as important as exercising and eating clean, but probably one of the easier things to do on your health journey. Whatever’s keeping you up – your boss, your boyfriend, your bills – just shake it off and go to bed. You’ll wake up a lot more creative and happy.

And big thanks to ZzzQuil for partnering with me on this video to encourage you guys to sleep more!

Good night!

Sources:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/203436.php

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/mood

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/08/researchers-find-sleep-selectively-preserves-emotional-memories/

  • Amy

    I need about 10 hours of sleep to function best, but I’m a teenager so that’s to be expected. I rarely ever sleep that much though

  • Veronica

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I get about 5 1/2 hours of sleep on work nights and on the weekend I try to make up for lost time by sleeping in to get 8-10 hours of sleep. I have so much to do and it has become a bad habit to go to bed late. Still trying to figure out what works. Maybe I will try the nyquil.

  • Sheilyn

    Love this post! I have been trying to get a good sleep schedule going and I think this really helped! Thanks! xoxo

  • Amber Wiedner

    I have all these problems but the issue is I have narcolepsy. How are you supposed to get a good work out, lose fat, and build muscle with something like that?

  • Lindsey

    One of the worst side effects for me is that I then have the hardest time falling asleep the next night too, even though I’m exhausted. It’s like I’ve fought the sleepy so much that day that I can’t turn it off that night!

    https://thismisscooks.wordpress.com/

  • Sleep is so, so important! I actually don’t function at all if I don’t get enough sleep and I’ve always been like that. I can’t think at all if I get less than 7 hours a night. I actually feel physically sick if I don’t sleep enough. So I am never ever compromising when it comes to my sleep!

    x
    Heidi
    https://theglowingyogagirl.com/

  • fiona

    I definitely struggle with some mild insomnia, especially in the summers. Also, this is off topic, but are you planning on releasing new pop flex clothes any time soon Cassey? ;)

    • blogilates

      We’re currently working on some new stuff!

  • lea

    I sleep about 4-5 hours most nights. I suffer from insomnia and it’s really hard to sleep. I have tried everything including prescription sleep meds. I didn’t want to use them long term and stopped them.

    I know I need sleep I just can’t find it. I’ve taken warm showers, tea, and warm milk, now I just read until I fall asleep.

    • blogilates

      reading really helps me.

      • lea

        I love to read as well it helps clear my mind and I can think about things. I love it. Thanks for the reply.

  • I really have to commend you on making this post! Whenever I don’t get adequate sleep, the next day I binge… And I’ve been hard! Actually the past two weeks I’ve had at least two nights per week where I didn’t sleep very well and the bingeing was absolutely terrible, I was so shaken by it that I spent the rest of the entire day with tremendous anxiety, which triggers me to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors even more. In fact, I wrote a post on 13 reasons why your binging in honor of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on Netflix, 13 reasons why.

    http://thefitty.com/2017/06/23/13-reasons-why-youre-binging/

    I think it’d be insightful to help some of your readers. Now more than ever, I am trying to prioritize sleep. I never want to binge like that ever again! I’m going to try that supplement that you suggested, Perhaps it is the kick-start that I need on those sleepless nights.

    Also Cassey, during your bikini prep, were you not getting enough sleep? Did your trainer not stress to you the importance of sleep, weight gain, and cortisol?