Whether you’re working late, watching TV or struggling with insomnia, what happens to your body and mind when you don’t sleep?

Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 18 should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but many people struggle to clock up enough shut-eye.

Getting enough sleep helps your body repair itself, boosting your metabolism and your brain’s ability to retain new knowledge.

On the flip side, sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and depression.

Not getting enough sleep also makes you more prone to accidents and could be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

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Getting enough sleep may protect your heart

Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain

Losing sleep places increased stress on your heart by increasing your blood pressure and putting you more at risk for having a stroke.

A lack of sleep also negatively affects your body’s ability to release insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This makes you more prone to type two diabetes.

And because a lack of sleep affects hormones, messes up your circadian rhythms and makes it harder to motivate yourself to exercise, you may start to gain weight.

Losing sleep and gaining weight – the link explained

A tired brain

The connection between a lack of sleep and a decreased mood is real, with research linking sleep deprivation with anxiety and depression. Another study even found an association between sleep deprivation and increased suicide risk.

Without the restorative deep sleep your brain needs, your brain has to work harder to keep you energised throughout the day. This makes effective and efficient neural connections harder to achieve making it harder to learn new things and recall memories.

To learn more about how a lack of sleep could affect you, watch the embedded video.

Study: Lack of sleep linked to anxiety and depression

How to get a better night’s sleep

If you aren’t getting enough sleep every night, here a few tips that may help you:

The amazing benefits of a set bedtime – even for adults

If you’re still struggling to sleep, seek professional advice from your doctor or healthcare provider.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.