What are the psychological effects of no sleep?

04 Jul
Minaish Dhabhar

Hi guys,

In today's day and age, people - and especially the younger generation - gets way less sleep than is recommended. This is due to a lot of social media and technology that keeps them up at later hours. 

Now, I'm a victim of this too. So I wanted to know, what are the psychological effects of getting less than optimal hours of sleep? Also, are there any psychological reasons as well? What are they?

Please also let me know how many hours of sleep is optimal for proper psychological functioning, because different people have different opinions about this. 

Thank you!

Responses 5

  • Rimi Sharma
    Rimi Sharma   Jul 24, 2017 06:01 PM


    Thanks for the post.

    It was only two months ago that I had the same question. After a bit of looking here and there, I found a gem: it was a Ted Talk video.

    Here’s the link:


    Hope this answers your question.

    Coming to the second part of your question, “how long should one sleep”, you will have noticed that it was addressed in the video. But, I disagree with it. I have met many people who do not sleep for 6-10 hours and yet are active and healthy. I think you should sleep for as long as it takes for you to recharge yourself and your body for the following day’s activities. I think so because one can sleep for 10 hours and yet the quality of sleep can be poor. Whereas, someone who sleeps for 6 hours only may have got a good quality of rest. Which is better? I thought so too. It depends on people’s lifestyles, too, to a large extent.

    If you think that you can do with 6 hours of sleep, or less, but you’re fully resting without being interrupted by noise, alarms, tension, etc., then it should not affect your cognitive functions.

    Advice: Never compromise on sleep! You can catch up on that good conversation later, but losing out on sleep will hamper your ability to even think clearly.

    Avoid using cell phones before going to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, then read a book, count, or do something creative like writing or drawing or painting.

  • Shanmugi B.P
    Shanmugi B.P   Jul 08, 2017 04:56 PM


       Hope you are doing well.I agree with your statements.Nowadays younger generation are very much affected of less sleep due to the social media.A normal person should sleep for 7-8 hours daily.So,that they can feel refreshed and energitic everyday.sleeping for less hours can affect both physical and psycological functions.

    Physical functions:

    It affects your physical functioning like hairfall,laziness and feel weak.

    Psycological functions.

    It makesd you to feel anxious and frustrated even for small issues.Also,will make you to feel depressed.

    Everyone is different of their prespectives and quality of sleep must be important to lead a better life.

    Hope it helps you

    Take care  :)

  • Shruti Gupta Dehradun
    Shruti Gupta Dehradun   Jul 05, 2017 01:50 PM


    Lack of proper sleep can affect your day to day routine to a great extent. Lack of Concentration, negative effects on an individual's reasoning and problem-solving abilities, alertness, etcetera are the prime psychological effects of inadequate sleep. For a healthy adult, it is recommended to have six to eight hours optimum sleep. However, the amount of sleep one needs varies from individual to individual. The quality of sleep you take matters as well.  

    As the level of stress is increasing, the sleeping habits of people are also changing drastically. Also, the number of distractions from the technical world, as you said, is also increasing and this is increasing the problem. There are various sleep cycles that play a role in consolidating memories in the mind and interference with the sleep patterns can affect the amount we retain from whatever we had learned yesterday. People who sleep late have a likely chance of suffering from insomnia which is a sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can have various physical effects as well like the aging of your skin, weight gain, health diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, etcetera. These can, in turn, have a huge impact on your psychological well-being.

    Thus, it is very important to get adequate and good quality sleep to remain physically as well as psychologically healthy. 


  • Prasha saggu
    Prasha saggu   Jul 05, 2017 02:16 AM


    Here is an interesting fact i read long back, lack of sleep for 3 consecutive days has same effect on the body as being intoxicated by alcohol. Surprised! Yes such are the effect of sleep depriviation.

    Our mind is at work throughtout the day trying to arrange and manage the stimulus it receives from the environment but it needs rest and our body needs rest too. As you have related the lack of sleep to use of mobiles and laptops, let me give you an example this way. When you keep using your electronic appliance for a long time, you know it gets heated and sometimes you would find your phone not functioning properly and turning slow. When such a condition arises, you clean up your phone, delete the unnecessary files and let it charge for some time. This is what your body and brain needs as well. You keep working all day long, come back home from quarrels with someone at work, have some thoughts in mind and what not. Some of these things are insignificant to you but to remove this "trash" out of your brain, you need to sleep and this is the phenomenon where your body and brain gets charged up.

    Lack of sleep leads to lack of concentration,irritability, lethargy, poor memory. It even leads to physiological effects such as gaining weight and weakness. Every individual's body functions differently but on an average an adult requires 6-8 hours of sleep for normal anf efficient functioning.

    Take care.

  • Manaswini Venkateswaran
    Manaswini Venkateswaran   Jul 04, 2017 04:35 PM

    From personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that not getting a proper amount or a good quality of sleep can put you in a bad mood as well as reduce your performance in various activities.

    For example, you won't be able to fully concentrate in class or at work, you'll feel generally slow and lethargic and you won't get through your daily routine with the same vigour and zest. It can also cause moodiness, memory problems and disorientedness with the surroundings.

    In extreme cases of sleep-deprivation, some people even experience hallucinations - seeing or hearing things that are not present.

    Another less-known effect of getting too little sleep is a spike in appetite. The general assumption is that the more you sleep, the more weight you gain but in fact, the less you sleep, the more you can't control your hunger cravings. This is due to the fact that there is a greater amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) secreted in your body.  

    In answer to the second part of your question, the amount of sleep the average adult needs seems to be 6-8 hours, but this is not necessarily true for everyone. Some people can do with as little as 4 hours of sleep, while others may exceed the 8-hour limit.

    Everyone is different, and the quality of sleep matters more than the quantity. A person who got a good sleep of 5 hours may feel more rested and energetic than someone who got an average sleep of 8 hours. 

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