The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Ain C. ('23)

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter for school before? For most students, sleeping past 11:00 PM has become a common routine. Most days, people seem to overlook the concerning consequences. People nowadays rely on coffee or some red bull as a solution to their fatigue, but this actually causes more harm than good, such as addiction to the substance or a standstill to their growth and development. According to Stanford Medicine, “Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts. It’s a problem that knows no economic boundaries.” Here are the negative effects of lack of sleep.

1. Poorer Grades

There are many factors that prevent teens from getting the right amount of sleep that they need. It may be ascribed to the use of technology, the amount of caffeine intake, the enormous workload, extracurricular activities, or the early school start times. The utmost factor is the stress they receive from the demanding workload and expectations from school, leading to students pushing themselves too hard just to finish an assignment or prepare for a test. Students may believe in the saying that if you hustle, you can succeed; yet in reality, the one fact that will get you to success is sleep. Despite the common belief, sacrificing sleep to get better grades leads to a higher chance of getting bad grades. According to the American Psychological Association, research involving more than 3000 high school students showed that students who often get C’s, D’s, and F’s usually sleep 25 minutes less and went to bed at about 40 minutes later than the students who reported were getting A’s and B’s. Studies have shown that teens should be getting roughly 9 hours of sleep each day. Therefore, students that don’t get 8-10 hours of sleep, lose their ability to succeed dramatically. Students will have trouble learning and processing information, coping with stress, and staying focused at school.

2. Teenage Depression and Anxiety

According to the Children’s Health Council, research has shown that each hour of lost sleep,

can be associated with a 38% of an increased feeling of hopelessness and sadness, and a 58% increase in suicide attempts. This research had been experimented on around 28,000 high school students. According to the Children’s Health Council, “Another study found that high school seniors were three times more likely to have strong depression symptoms if they had excessive daytime sleepiness.”

3. Behavior Issues

People, most likely, have had a first-hand experience of the lack of sleep affecting their moods and behavior drastically the next day. Those that don’t get enough sleep are often more probable to be irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to being aggravated with common annoyances, such as getting out of bed or waiting in line compared to those that get enough sleep. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found out that people that only get around 4.5 hours of sleep every night for a week, and often report being stressed, unhappy, angry, and mentally exhausted. After the subjects returned to sleeping in the normal routines, they reported back that there was a drastic improvement in their moods. 

4. Health Decline

The best medication for a never-ending cold could be sleep. According to NHS, you can boost your immunity just by changing your sleep schedule. Prolonged lack of sleep can leave you vulnerable to viruses that cause common colds or the flu, and therefore, increase the likelihood of getting sick. Also, according to Healthline, if you are a person that sleeps no longer than 5 hours a night, there is a possibility of an increase in blood pressure, which could lead to heart attacks and strokes. There is also a risk of getting type 2 diabetes because sleep deprivation can affect your body’s release of insulin, which is a blood-sugar-lowering hormone.

5. Weight Increase

Are you worried about the extra pounds you put on this season? Your sleep cycle may have been the reason. NHS states that people who sleep less than 7 hours a day are more likely to gain more weight than those who get more than 7 hours. This is because a decrease in sleep quantity leads to a decrease in levels of leptin (the chemical that triggers the feeling of “fullness”) and an over-procurement of ghrelin (the chemical that causes the feeling of hunger). As you get older, getting sufficient sleep may seem impossible to you. But, the great number of health benefits easily surpass not sleeping, as it will give you a healthy body and a functioning brain. 

To conclude, if you are struggling to keep your New Year's resolutions of raising your GPA, losing weight, being happy and having a healthy lifestyle the first step could be to get enough sleep for your body.

Works Cited

Fletcher, Jenna. “Why Is Sleep Important? 9 Reasons for Getting a Good Night's Rest.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 31 May 2019,

Gregoire, Carolyn. “5 Scary Health Effects Of Sleep Deprivation During The Teen Years.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 31 Jan. 2018,

“Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

“Why Do We Need Sleep?” National Sleep Foundation,

“Why Is Sleep Important for Our Physical and Mental Health.” TYLENOL®,

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