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Along with physical health complications from lack of sleep, caffeine intake can contribute to health problems.

How Lack of Sleep Impacts Physical Health

February 28, 2022

In addition to negative mental health consequences, consistent lack of sleep can decrease one’s physical health. 

Seow’s study also examined this impact, finding that people getting less than or equal to 6 hours of sleep per night were 1.64 times more likely to develop a physical disorder. Among these numbers, Seow found that lack of sleep led to participants being twice as likely to develop chronic pain as well as a cardiovascular disorder. 

When students consistently miss the benchmark for sleep, they become at risk for severe health complications. In efforts to combat their lack of sleep, many students look for ways to ease their tiredness. 

“Every morning I wake up feeling tired and not energetic, so I turn to caffeine to help wake me up,” Gohil said. “It’s almost automatic to use caffeine to make up for my lack of sleep.” 

Although caffeine offers temporary relief of consistent tiredness, it does not make up for insufficient sleep. Instead, caffeine offers its own complications to physical health. 

Alan J. Budney, a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, explored caffeine’s impact on adolescents with a few main concerns. 

The first concern of consistent caffeine intake in adolescents was “dependence,” or when users become dependent on caffeine to function in their daily life. Dependence can lead to withdrawal symptoms of headaches, fatigue, or drowsiness, ironically many of the symptoms teens use caffeine to combat. 

Another main concern in teens who intake between 100-400 mg of caffeine per day (a moderate amount for an adult) is the more severe impact caffeine takes on adolescents. Caffeine in adolescentes can lead to anxiety, disrupted sleep, and can impact learning, as well as development. 

So while lack of sleep can have detrimental effects on physical health, efforts to combat sleepiness, such as caffeine consumption, further adversely affect teens. 

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