At this time of year, we often look for the scariest films to terrify us so much that we’ll never want to turn the lights off again. However, if you really want to give yourself a fright, here are some of the horrifying side-effects we might suffer when we miss out on sleep:

1: Irritability

Perhaps the most common side-effect of a bad night’s sleep, we all know how grumpy we can be after a lack of sleep. Unfortunately, sleep irritability can be far from funny when it leads to arguments with family, friends and, most worryingly, co-workers. Prolonged irritability can seriously damage our relationships.

Halloween2: Pain

We tend to dismiss aches and pains as a sign we’re getting older, yet many of us don’t know that pain and even a higher sensitivity to pain are a sign that we’re not getting enough sleep. So never dismiss niggling pains as a sign of age, instead research into your sleeping habits to see if improving your night’s sleep could help reduce your pain.

3: Car Accidents

We’d never consider getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, yet many of us find driving while tired totally acceptable. Yet, driving tired is now being considered just as dangerous as drunk driving as our reasoning and reaction time can be affected. We may even fall asleep at the wheel.

4: Colds

When we have diminished sleep, our immune system suffers too, making us far more susceptible to contagious illness such as colds. If you find that you seem to pick up every office bug or illness your child has, you may want to consider boosting your immune. Just keep-in-mind that you don’t need lots of expensive vitamin pills to keep you well, the best defence against a cold is a well-balanced diet and good night’s sleep.

5: Needing the Loo More

Just like pain, we often dismiss the need to pee a lot during the night as a sign of age. Yet this is not always the case. Usually during sleep, our body will slow down urine production, which is why we can normally last all night without a trip to the loo. When we become sleep deprived though, our body doesn’t slow this urine production at night, meaning we wake-up needing the loo numerous times during the night.

6: Gastrointestinal Problems

Conditions such as IBS or IBD may feel like something people are born with, but recent studies have found that people who suffer from regular sleep loss may actually develop symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome.

7: More Prone to Mistakes

You know yourself, a bad night’s sleep and you find yourself distracted, confused and far more likely to make mistakes. Something which isn’t so bad if you just absentmindedly walk in the wrong room or accidently wash your hair twice. But, when tiredness affects stressful professions such as surgeons or financial workers, these mistakes are far from funny.

8: Weight Gain

Particularly bad for emotional eaters, when we’re tired we often feel the need to make ourselves feel better by indulging in high-calorie foods and snacks to get us through the day. Tiredness also leads to us loading up on coffees during the day, which is fine if your drink it black, but if you like sugar and milk then the calories can soon add up. Especially if you like a flavoured latte from a coffee shop, which can be over 200 calories a cup. Over time, all these calories add up and can lead to weight gain.

A lack of sleep is often thought of us an inconvenience  rather than a serious medical worry, but if this snapshot of the horrifying side-effects of sleep deprivation hasn’t convinced you yet, sleep is vital in our lives, so if you aren’t getting the best sleep you can, now is the to improve your sleep health. 

Image courtesy of Pansa at