Sunday, June 26, 2011

What You're Risking if You Don't Get Enough Sleep

Sometimes, getting enough sleep can seem like a luxury.  However, skimping on sleep can adversely effect your health in ways you may not know.

For starters, you can gain weight when you miss sleep because your hormones that control your appetite change flow and will increase your hunger.  In this sleep deprived state, you're more prone to grabbing foods high in fat and calories to satisfy yourself. 

Without enough sleep you can also be more at risk for heart disease.  Studies have shown that women who get on an average of less than five hours of sleep each night are seriously increasing their odds of developing hypertension, which can lead to heart disease.  Without adequate sleep, the body produces enough stress hormones and other substances to build inflammation to set the stage for heart disease and stroke.

Skimping on the normal hours of sleep you need can also help you develop diabetes.  Regularly sleeping fewer than five hours a night gives you two-and-a-half times higher chance of getting diabetes than someone that sleeps a normal seven to eight hours a night.   The reason diabetes can occur is because you need deep sleep to regulate blood-sugar levels.

Another negative health impact of insufficient sleep is you will become more irritable and unable to handle your emotions very well.  This happens because part of your brain that controls reasoning becomes deactivated due to a lack of sleep.

Lastly, you will get sick more.  You need normal hours of sleep because cytokines, chemicals that help the immune system, are released to fight off disease and infection.  Being sleep deficient can lead to more infections and even affect how your body produces antibodies after a vaccination.   According to the research, sleep starved people often only produce half the flu antibodies compared to a regular sleeper.

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