Most people don’t know the full extent of what happens if you don’t get enough deep sleep—and they suffer for it!

Sleep loss and sleep deprivation are, sadly, all too common in this busy, stressful modern life. A lot of people struggle to get enough sleep at night because they’re too busy to get to bed on time, wake up too early to beat traffic to work, or too stressed or anxious thanks to their daily activities.

But it’s actually incredibly important that you know what happens if you don’t get enough deep sleep. The negative consequences of sleep loss and sleep deprivation can be incredibly serious, especially over the long-term. Below, we’re going to look at what happens when you don’t get enough sleep—sleep overall and deep sleep. Once you realize the danger, you’ll see why it’s so important to make good quality deep sleep a high priority in your life!

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Deep Sleep?

According to the American Sleep Association, an estimated 50-70 million American adults suffer from a sleep disorder, with as many as 40% of the US adult population reporting short sleep duration.

There are some pretty serious consequences for not getting enough sleep every night:

  • Impaired memory. Sleep loss can make your brain less effective at storing new memories and recalling previously stored memories. It can even impair your ability to process and remember information.

  • Reduced alertness. Even just 90 minutes of sleep loss will reduce your alertness. Your reaction time will slow, you’ll be less aware of your surroundings, and you’ll have a harder time paying attention. This can be particularly dangerous while driving.

  • Excessive sleepiness. You won’t just feel tired at night, but you’ll get drowsy during the day. You may find yourself falling asleep at work—or, worse, when behind the wheel of your car.

  • Low quality of life. When you’re tired, you have a harder time engaging in socialization, exercise, and the activities of your daily life. You’re also prone to poor eating habits, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.

  • Moodiness. Sleep loss can interfere with your brain’s regulation of your mood, causing you to feel cranky or irritable. This can drastically impair your relationships, both personal and professional.

As you can see, sleep loss is a very real problem! It’s absolutely imperative that you get enough sleep at night. Only by spending enough time sleeping—the recommended 6 ½ to 8 hours per night—will you protect your health, quality of life, brain function, and mood.

However, it’s not just the quantity that matters—sleep quality is incredibly important, too.

When you sleep, your body cycles through stages. Light sleep is Stages 1 and 2, Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep, and last there is REM sleep. It’s Stages 3 and 4 that are the most important for your health. During deep sleep, your body releases growth hormones needed to repair tissues, increase cellular growth, and restore organ function. Deep sleep also clears out metabolic wastes from your brain, leading to better cognitive function, memory processing, and even immunity.

But what happens if you don’t get enough deep sleep?

  • Higher risk of infection and disease. Deep sleep is necessary to strengthen your immune system, reduce chemicals that trigger inflammation in your body, and even facilitate the effects of vaccines. Deep sleep also helps you recover from disease more quickly and accelerates the elimination of whatever is triggering illness. Without enough deep sleep, your immune system is impaired and you are at greater risk of disease. 

  • Brain function is impaired. Without deep sleep, your lymphatic system can’t remove the build-up of metabolic wastes in the brain. These wastes include beta-amyloid plaques, which have been linked to higher rates of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Your mood also suffers, making you more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and stress-related mental health issues.

  • Elevated cardiovascular risk. A lack of deep sleep has been linked to not only higher rates of heart attacks, but also strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

These are some very real and very worrying outcomes! If you don’t get enough deep sleep, your body is at serious risk.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Deep Sleep? Reverse the Problem Now

The good news is that you can improve both your sleep quality and quantity starting today.

First, try to “reboot” your sleep patterns. If you have a hard time falling asleep and reaching deep sleep, it could be because you have a low “sleep drive”. Spend 24 hours awake, then see how easily you fall asleep and reach deep sleep stages. This sort of sleep restriction can do wonders to reboot your sleep patterns (just don’t do it if you have to work or drive!).

Next, get your circadian rhythms back in sync by following the same sleep schedule every day—waking up and going to sleep at the same time, be it weekend or weekday. Regular sleep can help to increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep because your body is accustomed to a specific sleep-wakefulness cycle.

Improve your sleep environment by making it dark, cool, quiet, and pleasant. Eliminate any outside stimuli (light, sound, smells, and sensations) that could wake you up.

Follow the same pattern of preparing for bed every night. Take a bath, relax with a book or soothing music, and so on. Following this pattern will help to maintain your sleep drive and encourage relaxation.

Finally, consider a sleep aid—such as PureSleep—to give you an extra boost at night. PureSleep contains magnolia bark extract, Ashawagandha, chamomile, magnesium, melatonin, and other natural ingredients that will maximize sleep quality and encourage more time in deep sleep.

Do these things, and you’ll never have to wonder what happens if you don’t get enough deep sleep because you’ll sleep exponentially better every night!