What Is the Impact of Sleeplessness On Your Brain?

Dr. Hira Tanveer

3 min read


Sleep is something as important as breathing and eating. You must have felt sluggish and tired if you have ever worked after a sleepless night. On average, a person sleeps about 25 years or one-third of their life. While sleeping, your body heals, repairs and rejuvenates itself.

Sleep deprivation does not only make you tired physically but has dangerous effects on your brain as well. Scientists have found that lack of sleep makes it difficult for your brain cells to communicate efficiently, leading to temporary mental lapses that can affect your memory and visual perception.

Moreover, sleep deprivation can cause psychiatric and neurodegenerative problems as well. In this article, we are going to talk about the impact of sleeplessness on the brain. 

Lack of coordination 

Sleep deprivation can make you feel tired and can slow down the overall functioning of your brain. Therefore you cannot work properly in the daytime if you do not sleep well in the night. Also, your brain signals may become delayed leading to a lack of coordination between your body and brain.

This effect makes it difficult for you to focus on daily life activities like driving a car, cooking food, reading, and writing, etc. Furthermore, lack of sleep makes you prone to accidents and injuries because your brain is not fully active. 


Lack of sleep makes you irritable and negatively impacts your emotional and mental state. If you do not sleep well, you will be unable to make big decisions that can have an impact on your life. Also, you will feel stressed emotionally, mentally as well as physically, which could lead to mood swings.

Hallucinations and negative thoughts 

Long term improper sleep can cause hallucinations, which means seeing and hearing things that are not actually present. People suffering from bipolar disorder can get mania due to lack of sleep. Furthermore, it can trigger anxiety, impulsive behavior, and suicidal thoughts, that are dangerous for one’s well being. 

Brain damage 

Another harmful impact of sleeplessness on the brain is that it causes brain damage. That happens because long term lack of sleep leads to overstimulation of brain parts, which in turn causes brain damage. It occurs because the brain has the ability to alter itself according to the conditions. When it is forced to do so, it alters itself, eventually causing damage to brain cells. 

Lack of concentration   

Another important impact of sleeplessness on the brain is lack of concentration. People who sleep for a short time are unable to concentrate on their studies, therefore their grades suffer a lot due to it. They take more time to respond, recall, and react as compared to those who take a good night’s sleep. 

No control over emotions 

Moreover, sleep deprivation makes a person restless, anxious, less satisfied, and irritable, eventually leading to anxiety disorders. Also, it makes the person emotionally unstable. People who do not sleep well feel more emotional and do not have control over their emotions.

According to research, our emotional activities are controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain. While we do not sleep well, the frontal lobe becomes like an accelerator without brakes. 

Altered visual perception

A person with sleep deprivation often suffers from visual disturbances as well. Their visual perception gets slowed down and altered. When we do not sleep well, it takes more time for the brain to code the visual information into a thought.

For example, if a person who has not slept in the night is driving a car, and another person is crossing the road, the driver would realize the presence of the pedestrian bit late. This phenomenon makes a person more prone to accidents and injuries. You should never drive a car or operate any machinery if you have not slept well in the night. 


Sleeping for almost eight to nine hours is necessary during a twenty-four hours span for the normal functioning of the body. Not only the brain is affected by the lack of sleep, our whole body gets affected if we do not sleep well. When we sleep, our body builds the immune system that protects and helps us against certain infections. Also, when we sleep in the night, our body secretes hormones that do not let us feel hungry and helps us in feeling full.

So, if we do not sleep well at night, our body can become more prone to infections as well as there is a high chance to gain weight. Moreover, our body insulin secretion is affected due to altered sleep, which can lead to diabetes eventually. 

Most importantly, in children and adolescents, growth hormone is secreted when they sleep. If they do not sleep well, their mental and physical growth can get affected, which is bad for them. 

There are some types of sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome, insomnia, narcolepsy, and obstructive sleep apnea that can cause sleep deprivation. In that case, you must consult with your physician for treatment. You can book an appointment with a general physician in Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad via oladoc.com or by calling at 042-38900939.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Hira Tanveer Dr. Hira Tanveer is an MBBS doctor and currently serving at CMH Lahore. Writing is her favorite hobby as she loves to share professional advice on trendy healthcare issues, general well-being, a healthy diet, and lifestyle.