After pulling an all-nighter, you may feel like you’re a complete wreck. Whether you spent the late hours of the night and early morning gaming with your friends or working a job, there are side effects of staying up all night.
How dangerous can it be to skip a night of sleep? Is this really something you should try to avoid or is it okay every once in a while? What happens if you keep trying to push through to the next day and make it to bedtime for that day without going to sleep?
I want to tell you about some of the health side effects of staying up all night. As necessary as it may be to stay awake for hours on end or as much fun as you can have with late night parties, there are repercussions to robbing yourself of sleep.
Is Sleep Loss Dangerous
In a moment, I’m going to talk about some of the side effects of staying up all night. Before I do that, I want to present a disclaimer:
The longer you stay awake, the more harm you’re doing to yourself.
There are side effects that will start to give you trouble as you lose a few hours of sleep. If you get up a few hours early or go to bed a few hours late, you’re going to suffer from some of the side effects I’m going to list below. The longer you stay up, though, the stronger these effects will be and the more dangerous they will become as well.
You also could have to consider how long it’s been since the last time you slept. If you had an early morning and then stay up all night, that’s more dangerous to you than if you slept well the night before. The side effects I am going to talk about will become much more serious in that situation.
What Can Lack of Sleep Cause
Obviously, you’re going to feel tired if you miss some sleep. You will likely feel like you need to fall asleep, and that may not seem serious, but in the wrong situation, it can be. Here are a few scenarios where drowsiness can be extremely dangerous:
- driving a car
- taking care of small children
- working around dangerous chemicals or fire
- driving a forklift
- working as a doctor
This is just a very short list, and there are plenty more scenarios I could add. In these situations, you’re a danger to yourself, and in others, you’re a danger to those around you. You’ve probably seen some medication that advises you not to operate heavy machinery after taking that drug. That is likely due to the drowsiness it causes, and the same danger is present with a lack of sleep.
What are the side effects of staying up all night? The first one you will likely notice is drowsiness, and it can also be one of the most dangerous.
This is a feeling that you have no energy and that you don’t want to do very much. Lethargy and a lack of motivation usually go hand in hand. You may find it very difficult to get any work done, to do chores that need to be done, or anything else that is required of you during the day.
One of the side effects of staying up all night and sleeping all day is that your motivation just plummets.
Any kind of poor sleep schedule is going to affect your motivation and your energy levels. You’ll feel like you don’t have much energy at all, and an unregulated sleep schedule has this same effect.
If you don’t have a set bedtime and a set time to wake up, that can wreak havoc on your energy levels. You may feel like you always need coffee or an energy drink to get pepped up and to accomplish anything.
Don’t expect to do much of anything after you miss a night of sleep. Your performance will not be very good because of low energy levels. You’ll feel like you just need to sit down or lie down, and that’s your body telling you you’ve had enough and you need to rest.
A kind of blurriness in your thinking is known as brain fog. What kind of side effects do you experience when staying up all night that can affect your performance? This brain fog is one that is not talked about as much as some of the other side effects but is definitely worth mentioning. It’s going to have a serious effect on your ability to do much of anything the next day.
Missing out on sleep is similar to getting drunk. It affects your cognitive abilities and your ability to focus.
If you have any kind of precision work to do, if you need to make critical decisions, or you need to study for school, you’ll find all of that very difficult if you miss out on some sleep.
Brain fog seriously affects your ability to think and speak. You may find yourself having trouble thinking of the words to use or recalling basic facts. Of course, the longer you go without sleep, the worse this will get, to the point where you will be barely able to function.
Lack of Motor Control
Think about the kinds of problems a drunk person has to deal with, and you can have a really good idea of what a sleep deprived person would be dealing with. The sluggish movement and brain fog caused by sleep deprivation contribute to poor motor control.
You’ll have difficulty performing any kind of precision movements, and you may become very clumsy. You might find yourself falling down, dropping things, or tripping often as you’re dealing with sleep deprivation.
If you can’t control your motor functions very well, your performance at work or school will be very poor. It may not be worth it to even go into work if you missed a night of sleep. You may need to skip some classes for the day and rest up if you missed sleep the night before.
Did you know that you can suffer from mood swings and grouchiness when you forego sleep? You may find yourself feeling easily irritated or angered if you’re not getting enough sleep.
Some people notice this about themselves when they don’t sleep well during the night for whatever reason. They notice that the next day they lose their temper very quickly and it doesn’t take much for them to fly off the handle. They can get angry at people and say words they regret to the very people who are closest to them.
This is because you’ll be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, and therefore an emotional imbalance, if you are overly tired.
The lack of sleep can seriously affect your ability to control your temper. You may find yourself saying things you instantly regret and wonder why you’re acting that way.
People who are not getting enough sleep will usually have trouble controlling their emotions. Some people getting giddily happy at first, but after more than a few hours of sleep deprivation, they may find themselves becoming very irritable and quick to anger. It can become harder and harder to control your emotions.
Part of this comes down to a sensitivity to sound, light, and motion as you become more tired. Your body wants sleep at that point, and anything that is loud or bright will be negatively affecting your body’s attempt to go to sleep.
At the same time, your eyes and ears will be very tired. They have been overworked because of how long you’ve been awake, and those senses will become more sensitive to sounds and bright lights.
If you missed a night of sleep, you can suffer all these side effects and more. It’s important that you get rest as soon as possible, because repeatedly missing rest can cause long term health problems, including heart disease, muscle wasting, and chronic fatigue.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://awellnessbody.com.