What are the risks of sleep deprivation? Posted by Eileen Pelletier on February 02, 2015. 0 Comments From Mayo Clinic Sleep deprivation causes excessive daytime sleepiness. The consequences of sleep deprivation can include: Changes in cognitive function. Research shows that people who get inadequate sleep over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation can also cause irritability, decreased libido and poor judgment.Weight gain. Sleeping less than five hours a night might increase the likelihood of weight gain. This could be because sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger and stimulates the appetite. Sleep deprivation also leads to fatigue, which can result in less physical activity.High blood pressure. Sleeping five hours or less a night might increase the risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure.Weakened immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. Crashes. Excessive sleepiness is a major cause of car and truck crashes.Quality of life. Sleep deprivation might cause you to cut back on enjoyable activities due to fatigue. Inappropriate drowsiness or unplanned naps might also cause friction at home and at work.A recent study also reported that men who slept less than six hours a night had a higher overall risk of premature death than men who slept six hours or more a night.