What Happens If You Sleep Less Than 7 Hours a Day?

What Happens If You Sleep Less Than 7 Hours a Day

After the hustles that one goes through the entire day, the body needs a sleepy and restful night. Sleep is the natural medicine that the body needs to rejuvenate. Most times, we compromise sleeping time due to late-night parties, extra workload or just binging a newly released show.

This has serious effects on our next day’s functioning and productivity. This article will brief you more about how many hours of sleep is necessary and what happens if you sleep less than 7 hours a day.

Science of Sleep

Science of Sleep

A person’s overall health and well-being depends on how well the body has rested. During sleeping hours, the body cells restore energy, repair injured cells, and rebuild the muscles.

During sleep, the brain cycles through two parts: rapid eye movements (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movements sleep. (1)

  • During non-REM sleep, the body falls asleep, enters light sleep during which heart rate and breathing regulate, body temperature drops, and body enters deep sleep. It is a restful and restorative phase of sleep.
  • During REM sleep, eyes move rapidly behind closed lids, breath rates increase, dreams appear and the body is in a temporarily paralyzed state.

The brain cycles through these two parts four to five times, and with each cycle you spend more time in REM sleep.

Effects of Sleeping for Less Than 7 Hours

If a person compromises with sleeping hours, then the body undergoes several changes as follows:

  • Increased mood swings: A person deprived of enough sleep gets easily irritated and frustrated over small things (2). The person suffers from anxiety and decreased ability to handle pressure. Such a person is always stressed and emotionally weak.
  • Increased weight: The level of appetite increasing hormone, ghrelin increases when a person doesn’t take appropriate sleep. This increases hunger and sweet cravings. Sleep deprivation also results in reduction of satiety hormone, leptin. This makes the person overeat and hence weight increases abruptly.
    The body’s ability to metabolize fat reduces when a person doesn’t get enough sleep. This results in fatty plaques being stored and clogged in the arteries.
  • Disrupted hormonal level: Sleep controls hormones like growth hormones, cortisol (stress hormone), and appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin) (3). Insufficient sleep results in a misbalance of these hormones that affect health negatively.
  • Reduced immunity: The body’s defense mechanism reduces and the person can fall sick easily (4). During deep sleep body produces and releases cytokines that fight infections. Sleep deprivation can make a person vulnerable to infections and diseases.
  • Mental health issues: Inadequate sleep results in emotional sensitivity. It can also worsen pre-existing mental disorders and lead to mood issues. Such people suffer from depression. The person may suffer from paranoia and hallucinations.
  • Reduced productivity: A sleep-deprived person feels tired at all times. Tiredness reduces productivity and concentrating power. This hinders decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
  • Reduced intellectual level: Sleep is important for good cognitive health (5). The person’s ability to function intellectually depends on the health of brain cells. Brain cells need proper rest to focus, concentrate, process information, and remember it.
  • Increased chance of fatal encounters and blunders: Sleep deprivation might result in fatal accidents on the road while driving and blunders at work.
  • Low sex drive: A sleep-deprived person always has a low state of mind. This could potentially affect performance while having sex, inability to have sex, or reduced desire to have sex.

How to Ensure Proper Sleep?

Ensure Proper Sleep

The body needs sufficient sleeping hours for increased productivity. Long working hours, extra work pressure, underlying health conditions and personal obligations like taking care of a baby might also result in sleep deprivation.

It is when a healthy diet, proper exercise, and less screen time at night might result in proper sleep. Here’s what you can do to ensure proper sleep-

  • Make a proper routine for sleeping by going to bed at almost the same time every night.
  • The pillow, sleeping mattress, and bed sheet should be comfortable and clean.
  • The bedroom should be quiet, dark, and relaxing with appropriate temperature.
  • Making the bedroom free from electronic devices like TV, mobile phones, etc. will certainly help to get a sound sleep.


Adequate sleep is a must for proper body functioning. Sleep improves memory retention ability, problem-solving skills, and brain functions. It also maintains hormonal levels that are a dominant factor in controlling several ailments and stress levels.

Moreover, sleep strengthens the immune system of the body and regulates the emotional state. Reducing sleeping hours to less than 7 hours affects the body negatively and increases mood swings and irritability. Hence, ensure that your body gets proper rest through enough sleeping hours.

Image Source : canva

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