How Sleep Loss Threatens your Health

by Sharon Hopkins

Those who do not get enough sleep may be subjecting their bodies to various health concerns. Insufficient sleep can lead to health conditions that can range from mild problems such as fatigue to more severe ones such as heart attacks.

It is common knowledge that when your body feels run down and exhausted, you are more likely to fall ill. Research also supports this phenomenon. Studies tracking the sleeping habits of people have found that those who slept less than 7 hours every night were thrice as likely to fall ill than those who slept for a minimum of 8 hours. Getting inadequate sleep can also contribute to weight gain. Studies have shown to be especially strong in the case of children. Insufficient sleep can upset the levels of hormones that are influential in feelings of appetite and hunger. This coupled with the daytime tiredness that usually occurs is also likely to prevent you from exercising. Weight gain, can in turn elevate the risk of further health problems. Studies have shown an existing link between persistent insomnia and type 2 diabetes. Individuals who were affected with insomnia for a year and who slept less than 5 hours every night were three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as compared to those who did not suffer from any sleep problems and who slept for at least six hours per night. This condition is also believed to result from a disruption in the hormonal levels of the body caused by inadequate sleep. Another health concern associated with insufficient sleep is high blood pressure. Those who sleep for less than six hours at night are more vulnerable to developing a rise in blood pressure.

Sleep deprivation is also known to contribute to several other risk factors such as elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, high blood pressure and higher triglyceride levels. One of the factors that results in poor sleep is sleep apnea. This is a serious condition which can interrupt breathing and also increases the risk of heart disease. Studies have also shown that insomniacs are four times more likely to suffer from depressive disorders and problems of anxiety than normal sleepers. The quality of sleep also influences the rate of mortality of an individual, according to certain studies. These studies have shown that severe sleep apnea increases the risk of early death. It is evident that allowing the body enough sleep is vital to the health of the body.

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