We all know the feeling of getting too few hours of sleep. You don’t need a sleep clinic to tell you that. You might feel grumpy or sluggish the next day, but can a lack of sleep make you sick?
Absolutely! A vicious cycle can form in which sleep debt causes you to feel more tired, making it harder to sleep. Inadequate sleep is a significant contributor to or even catalyst for worse health problems and diseases.
Not only that, but insufficient sleep can prevent your brain and body from performing vital processes. Let’s look at how lack of sleep and poor sleep quality causes severe health issues.
Lack of Sleep Leads to Diabetes
Poor sleep can cause diabetes and can even worsen associated symptoms. In particular, Type 2 diabetes is more common for those who sleep less than seven hours when compared to those who get at least (or more than) seven hours of sleep nightly. This is especially common for middle-aged and older adults, as those who don’t sleep well are prone to getting Type 2 diabetes.
Good sleep helps regulate glucose, ghrelin and leptin, which affects your metabolism, helps your body process sugar and controls your appetite. Not sleeping well can also lead to spikes in the stress hormone, contributing to insulin resistance in the body’s cells. This is made even worse if you’re a stress eater. Remember, it’s better to give in to rest than hunger when hungry and sleepy.
Lack of Sleep Leads to Heart Problems
Like the rest of your body, sleep is critical for the optimal performance of your heart. A study from Tufts University observed nearly 4,000 healthy participants over several years. It tracked and monitored their sleep, finding that those who slept the fewest hours had the most plaque buildup.
This study from the University of Arizona found a similar connection between poor sleep and high blood pressure. This can lead to more plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, which increases your heart attack risk. Perhaps most alarming is that those who sleep for six hours or less per night are 20 percent more likely to contract a heart attack than those who get six to nine hours of nightly rest.
If you have congenital or acquired heart problems and trouble sleeping properly, visit a sleep clinic immediately.
Lack of Sleep Can Inhibit Healthy Weight Maintenance
One of the most important, and overlooked, solutions to maintain a healthy bodyweight— which takes just a few minutes each night— is to sleep enough!
Here is the main takeaway: if you want to stay healthy and spend less time at the doctors office, prioritize a good night’s sleep.
Suppose you’re getting less sleep than you need. In that case, your body won’t be able to regulate your hormones and appetite in multiple ways effectively: it will produce less leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite), and it will create more ghrelin (the hunger hormone). This will cause you to crave high-calorie foods, making it easier to eat more food and consume more calories.
In short, poor sleep increases your hunger and unhealthy cravings, makes you susceptible to gaining weight, and makes breaking down fat ineffective.
Poor sleep quality leads to weight gain, diabetes, and untimely heart conditions—all of which are bad for your health. Starting today, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night at the proper hours (meaning you won’t sleep in the wee hours of the morning). Your entire being will thank you for giving it enough rest for the following day.
But if you struggle with getting quality shut-eye and need professional help, visit Sleep Better Live Better today! We’re a sleep clinic in North Vancouver that provides customized solutions to improve our patients’ quality of life. Book your consultation today!