Sleep, like eating, drinking, and breathing, is vital to our health. It enables our bodies to heal themselves, as well as our brains. Sleep deprivation has been linked to physical issues like a weakened immune system; as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
The link between sleep and overall physical health has been well established by studies in literature. A good sleep allows both the body and the brain to recover; so that when you wake up in the morning, you feel refreshed and alert.
Sleep deprivation not only makes you tired; but it also puts you at risk for a variety of diseases and health problems; such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deprivation can also jeopardize your physical well-being.
Why you may not see the effect now
It’s difficult to determine the dangers of not getting enough sleep. Medical problems take time to develop and are associated with a number of risk factors. What we do know is that sleeping less than eight hours per night on a consistent basis appears to increase the chance of acquiring a variety of medical issues.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to weight gain. One study indicated that those who slept less than six hours per night on a regular basis were much more likely to be overweight, whereas those who slept an average of eight hours per night had the lowest relative body fat of the study group.
People who reported sleeping less than five hours per night had a significantly higher chance of having or developing type 2 diabetes; according to studies by Taveras et al. (2008) and Knutson et al. (2006). Fortunately, Knutson et al. (2004) had earlier also shown that getting more sleep helps improve blood sugar level and; lessen the consequences of type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
According to a recent study, even a small reduction in sleep (six to seven hours per night) was linked to a significantly higher risk of coronary artery calcification, which is a predictor of future myocardial infarction (heart attack) and mortality from heart disease (King et al., 2008).
There is also mounting evidence that obstructive sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and irregular heartbeat (Kasasbeh et al., 2006).
The immune system’s interaction with sleep has been thoroughly studied. Infections impact the amount and timing of sleep, and sleep loss increases the levels of several inflammatory mediators.8 While scientists are only beginning to comprehend these connections, preliminary research suggests that sleep deprivation may reduce the ability to resist infection.
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