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This Is What Happens to Your Body After a Week of Sleep Deprivation

Losing sleep? It is something to stress about.

Struggling to get enough shut-eye? You aren’t alone. Millions of people worldwide struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that are needed to feel your best. This is a big problem because sleep loss can contribute to a whole host of different problems. It can impact everything from your physical health to your social well-being.

Curious what happens to the body after you lose a bit of sleep? Here’s what occurs after just 7 days of sleep loss.

Testosterone Goes Down

If you’re a man hoping to build muscle and stay fit, sleep is critical. After just one week of sleep deprivation, subjects in one study noted a testosterone decline to the tune of 10-15 percent. Considering the fact you’ll naturally see a decrease of testosterone release of around 1 percent per year, this means you’ll be walking around with testosterone levels of that someone a decade older than you. If this doesn’t motivate you to hit the sack, I don’t know what will.

You Become Mentally Sluggish

You know the feeling where your brain just won’t seem to cooperate with you? That may be due to sleep loss. If you’re mentally sluggish, not being able to focus and concentrate on tasks you hope to achieve, sleep loss may be to blame.

Those who are low on sleep have trouble consolidating memories in their mind and may also show signs similar to those with ADHD. You can’t stay focused on a task for longer than a few minutes. Plus, you’ll be more easily distracted.

If your career is demanding, sleep is a must.

Insulin Sensitivity is Reduced

One of the hallmark traits of diabetes is poor insulin sensitivity and you can do this to yourself by skipping your bedtime. After just a few nights of not enough sleep, your body won’t respond to carbohydrates as well as it should be and you may be more prone to storing calories as body fat.

If you want to stay lean, consider 8 hours a must.

Hunger Goes Up

To add to the above point, you’ll also notice your hunger level increasing. This can happen after as little as one night of not enough sleep and cause you to crave sugary simple carbohydrates more than you otherwise would.

You might find that after a night of not so great sleep, you are constantly hungry and nothing seems to fill you up. This is because the lack of sleep is messing with your ghrelin levels, which is a hormone that is directly related to your satiety.

This could, in turn, make it that much harder to stick to your healthy eating plan.

Your Libido Level Will Tank

Finally, say goodbye to your libido level when sleep deprived. Sexual activity will be the last thing on your mind when you haven’t had enough sleep both because you are too tired to do anything physical at that point and also because psychologically, you just aren’t into it.

So don’t kid yourself on how important sleep is. It doesn’t take much sleep deprivation to start causing negative effects to occur. Remember that you can’t bank sleep on the weekends. Don’t think that six hours during the week and 12 hours on weekends will even the playing field. It won’t. Aim for 8 hours every night to ensure you feel your best.


Leproult, Rachel, and Eve Van Cauter. "Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men." Jama 305.21 (2011): 2173-2174.

Buxton, Orfeu M., et al. "Sleep restriction for 1 week reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy men." Diabetes 59.9 (2010): 2126-2133.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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