According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans aren’t regularly getting enough of it.
Although the exact details of why we sleep are still being investigated, we know it’s hard to function without it. As sleep science pioneer Allan Rechtschaffen, PhD, is often quoted as saying, “If sleep doesn’t serve some vital function, it is the biggest mistake evolution ever made.”
Insufficient sleep causes changes in more than 700 genes, one study found. Here’s how that plays out in your body.
Waking up groggy isn’t the only side effect of a poor night’s sleep. Studies suggest that even one night of poor sleep causes you to think less creatively and give up more quickly when faced with a complex problem.
You also may feel more anxious or emotional. “We make judgments and decisions about our place in the world when we sleep,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. “Sleep deprivation interrupts this, which can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.”