If You're Sleep Deprived, Scroll Past These Scary New Images Of The Facial Damage You're Doing

Sleep deprivation doesn't look cute.
Catherine McQueen via Getty Images

Everyone wants to get a good night’s sleep but the older you get, the harder this becomes. Work starts to get busier, you start having kids and our priorities start to change. Getting eight hours of good quality sleep every night soon becomes a distant dream.

So we settle for five or six hours of sleep a night and you might feel like this isn’t affecting you but it is.

Poor sleeping habits seriously affect our healthsleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure, as well as depression, a reduced immune system and a lower sex drive.

Currently, the NHS guidelines recommend that all adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best. However, this sleep should also be undisturbed and comfortable so it can allow your body to fully rest and recover during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

This is when the brain becomes more active and the body is at its most relaxed, helping that rest and recovery occur.

However, it’s not just your health that’s at risk if you’re not getting enough shut-eye – sleep deprivation can affect how you look as well.

Happy Beds and their resident sleep psychologist Dr. Katherine Hall, have created terrifying digital renders of the physical changes you’ll go through during a full week of sleep deprivation – excuse us while we plan an early bedtime.

Hard relate, sleep deprived Sam
Happy Beds
Hard relate, sleep deprived Sam
Sleep Deprived Sally has had better weeks
Happy Beds
Sleep Deprived Sally has had better weeks

A well-rested Sally and Sam

Sally and Sam both look happy and healthy after getting the recommended hours of sleep every night. Their skin is full of colour and their eyes look bright, with no bags or wrinkles. The expression on their faces suggests that they’re happy, something that makes a big difference to her outward appearance.

24 hours of being sleep deprived

Here we see no major health complications but some visible signs of sleep deprivation including dark circles under the eyes, puffy eyes, and tremors. Some people experience increased food cravings, anger, and irritability at this stage. Drowsiness, fatigue, decreased alertness, and increased risk of making mistakes is also common.

3 days of being sleep deprived

Between 24 hours and 3 days, the previous symptoms increase as your urge to sleep grows. Some people experience brief periods of sleep known as microsleeps which only last 30 seconds and occur without you realising it.

Cognitive performance is drastically impaired from decision-making to memory and a slow reaction time. More obvious physical symptoms include extreme fatigue, increased inflammation, and a compromised immune system.

4 days of being sleep deprived

This is when extreme sleep deprivation kicks in. Staying awake becomes increasingly harder. Hallucinations are not uncommon and may include seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t really there.

You may also notice increased irritability, fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depersonalisation, or the feeling that you’re observing yourself from outside your own body or that your surroundings aren’t real.

5 days of being sleep deprived

The urge to sleep and the frequency of microsleeps increases after 5 days of being sleep deprived. Hallucinations may now include delusions, illusions, and disordered thinking. All of the physical symptoms mentioned previously remain and may worsen.

6 days of being sleep deprived

At this stage, your urge to sleep will feel unbearable and your perception of reality will be severely impaired and distorted. You may not be able to accurately perceive and process information, resulting in a state of psychosis.

So, what are the warning signs that you’re sleep deprived?

1. Your skin is paler and sallower

Eventually, our skin can become paler and sallower, lacking in the usual healthy colour you’d expect when we’re lacking sleep. Further, the skin will begin to sag and possibly even wrinkle, especially around the eyes. A couple of nights without great sleep shouldn’t lead to this; however, these effects will start to become more obvious over an extended period.

2. Your eyes are red and puffy, and you have dark circles

We’re probably all familiar with the feeling of looking in the mirror after a poor night’s sleep and seeing the tell-tale signs in our eyes.

Well, the same is true for our sleep-deprived duo, who begin to suffer from red and puffy eyes relatively soon after their period of poor sleep starts. Further, dark circles appear around their eyes, and lines start to build over time.

3. You’ve got a low mood

Our physical appearance can be hugely altered by mood. We’re all familiar with that feeling when the alarm goes off, and we’ve had a bad night’s sleep - we’re moody and miserable, feeling down and even anxious.

These are all common effects, sometimes even leading to mental health problems. As Sally and Sam show over time, their expression mirrors their mood. They look sadder and more anxious as time goes on.

4. You’ve put on some weight

Yes, sleeping poorly can make you gain weight.

The NHS advises that “studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours or more.” As we can see, Sally and Sam are getting less than seven hours each night and begin to gain weight the longer this goes on.

5. You keep getting the common cold

Our body needs to be well-rested to fight off infection. Unfortunately, both Sally and Sam succumb to a common cold thanks to the fact that they’ve simply not had enough sleep. A prolonged lack of sleep can negatively affect the immune system, enabling these sorts of illnesses to creep in more often.