Sleep Deprivation: From Depression, Obesity, Diabetes To Heart Disease


Most people don't get enough sleep. Although I am very lucky that I can fall asleep fast at night, I still find it hard to get an eight hours sleep every night. With so many things to do, I often have to work until late at night. Hence, whenever possible, I catch up on some sleep which usually happens at the weekend.

The immediate effects of sleep deprivation include mood instability, lower concentration and alertness. Therefore, it may increase the risk of having accidents and injuries. It may also reduce the productivity at work. However, the long term effects of regular sleep deprivation are far more damaging to our health and wellbeing. The chronic sleep deprivation can trigger depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and premature ageing.

Sleep Deprivation and Depression

According to Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation affects 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practise. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On the other hand, a good quality sleep at night helps boost both mental and emotional strength.

A clinical aromatherapy study suggest that Rose flower extract has anti-depressant properties. As an anti-ageing scientist, I love to use Rose flower extract in my skincare formulas. In fact, it is one of the key ingredients in award-winning Rose and Cacay Hydrating Cream.


Sleep Deprivation and Obesity

Sleep deprivation may slow down the body's metabolism and increase water retention. People who sleep less than 7 hours per night are more prone to weight gain. Many studies showed that there is a close correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain. One particular study suggested that people who sleep less than 5 hours per night is at a 40% increased risk of obesity compared to those who get 7 to 8 hours sleep per night.

If you like me who often works until late at night, perhaps we need to make an effort to start earlier rather than to finish work late. Stop working few hours before bed-time will significantly help our body to relax and fall asleep faster.

Sleep Deprivation and Diabetes

Studies showed that adults need about 8 hours sleep per night for the normal regulation of metabolism. Not getting enough sleep regularly makes our body less capable of regulating blood sugar levels. People who sleep 4 to 5 hours per night have a reduced glucose tolerance and a lower insulin sensitivity. Therefore, sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.

Unmanageable stress often causes people to have a difficulty to fall asleep at night. If you are under a lot of pressure and find it difficult to sleep at night, it is worth to review your lifestyle and get a professional help as soon as possible. Some people may choose running, exercising at the gym or joining yoga classes to help reduce stress levels. Personally, I find that going for an hour walk after work is very relaxing.

For those who love aromatherapy, you can use Blue Chamomile essential oil to help calm down the nerve and reduce anxiety. I use Blue Chamomile essential oil as one of the calming ingredients in Chamomile & Cacay Oil. I find it very relaxing everytime I massage my face with this soothing face oil.


Sleep Deprivation and Heart Disease

Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk for chronic inflammation, the condition that has been closely associated with many diseases including heart disease. Studies showed that even a one-time sleepless night can cause immediate elevated blood pressure in people who have existing hypertension. This explains why sleep deprivation can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sleep Deprivation and Premature Ageing Skin

Apart from the various health issues, sleep deprivation causes your skin to age prematurely. At night while you are sleeping, your body renews and repairs damaged cells including skin cells. Sleep deprivation reduces the body's ability to regenerate itself. This will have significant negative impacts on how your skin looks and ages.

If for some reasons, you can't get the recommended eight hours sleep per night, you can use a night-time face serum that has been specially formulated to boost skin renewal while you are sleeping. As I often don't get an eight-hours sleep at night, I use Overnight Skin Perfector to boost skin radiance and reduce the existing signs of ageing such as wrinkles, lines and uneven skin tone.


“Excellent serum to use for the night to achieve great complexion, very effective!" Jasmine T.

" The best quality and results! I love this serum, my skin looks and feels healthier and fresher. Very recommended. Suryadi Limbang, France.



Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with US, UK amd Canada at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips. 

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Scientific Sources: Sleep and mental health, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, Consequences of Insufficient Sleep, The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Sleep and Disease Risk, The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review, BMJ Journals, Volume 4, Issue 1; Habitual Sleep Deprivation is Associated with Type 2 Diabetes: A Case-Control Study, Oman Medical Journal, 2016 Nov; 31(6): 399–403.

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