From the heart to blood sugar levels, a Yahoo! Health news report examines the impact of sleep deprivation on a person’s health.

Your Mental Capacities

“One of the most important things we have to remember is that sleep is a function of the brain,” Shalini Paruthi, MD, associate professor in the department of internal medicine and pediatrics at Saint Louis University, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, tells Yahoo Health. When you don’t get enough, the mental effects are immediate. They range from having a harder time concentrating and making decisions to having headaches and struggling to remember things, which can impact your life both personally (forgetting a friend’s birthday) and professionally (blanking mid-presentation in front of your boss).

Your ability to react quickly also slows down when you’re exhausted — which results in making mistakes. “We first lose our speed, and then we lose the accuracy,” notes Paruthi. “There are multiple studies that show being deprived — even if it’s four hours of sleep — can make someone have the same reaction time as someone who is driving under the influence. Driving while sleep-deprived is the equivalent of driving drunk.”

Read the full story at