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How Dangerous is Sleep Deprivation More Than You Think
As the saying goes – doing things in excess is not good for us. The same thing applies to the opposite – not doing enough of things that are good for us…is bad for us! Getting enough sleep is often treated like a luxury, and that is why we feel so happy, relieved and alive every time we actually get a great night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many of us have made habitual poor sleep into a legitimate health risk. In fact, over 20 percent of Americans are either suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, and at least 40 percent of adults reported that they fall asleep during the day without meaning to at least once a month.
Sleep deprivation is a health disorder that often goes undiagnosed. Although everyone has been told that a seven to eight hour sleep each night is required to keep our body in its prime condition. But many of us are unaware of the devastating health impact of insufficient sleep and dismiss the importance of a good night sleep. In fact, many of the chronic diseases and health complications today are associated with insufficient sleep. From heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, to stroke and diabetes, sleep disorders can put people’s lives at risk if left untreated. To keep you aware of the dangers of sleep deprivation here is an infographic that will help you to better understand the importance of a regular and sufficient sleep in your overall wellness.
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HOW DANGEROUS IS Sleep Deprivation? More Than You Think
About 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems
among them, nearly…
60% have a chronic disorder.
Each year, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness add an estimated…
$15.9 billion to the national health care bill.
Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, cancer, increased mortality, reduced quality of life, and lower productivity.
Insufficient Sleep and Health Risks
Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for: heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
According to some estimates, 90% of people with insomnia….
— a sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling and staying asleep — also have another health condition.
Insufficient sleep may lead to Type 2 Diabetes by influencing the way the body processes glucose.
Studies also reveal that if you sleep less than 5 hours per night, you greatly increase the risk of having or developing Diabetes.
Poor sleep can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
If you have hypertension, a single night of inadequate sleep can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the next day.
One study found that sleeping too little (less than six hours) increased the risk of coronary heart disease in women.
Poor sleep is associated with lower life expectancy.
Sleeping five hours or less per night can increase the risk of mortality by 15 percent.
Insufficient Sleep and Weight gain
Researchers followed roughly…
60,000 women for 16 years, asking them about their weight, sleep habits, diet, and other aspects of their lifestyle.
Women who slept 5 hours or less per night had a…. 15% higher risk of becoming obese, compared to women who slept 7 hours per night.
Short sleepers also had… 30% higher risk of gaining 30 lbs over the course of the study, compared to women who got 7 hours of sleep per night.
“Two key hormones which regular weight control – leptin and ghrelin – are affected by how much or how little we sleep. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite. While leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, so you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. The two combined can set the stage for overeating, which in turn may lead to weight gain.” – Nicole Zimmerman, DC
The lack of sleep disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite.
Sleep loss stimulates appetite, particularly for foods high in fat, high carbohydrate foods.
If you regularly sleep less than 6 hours per night, you are more likely to have a high BMI (Body Mass Index). Sleeping 8 hours or more per night leads to a lower BMI.
Insufficient Sleep and Productivity
Sleep specialists say if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong.
And if you work in a profession where it’s important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these by cognitive processes by:
- It impairs attention, alertness, and concentration.
- It diminishes memory because various sleep cycles consolidate memories in the mind.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.
Concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning are all aspects of cognitive function compromised by sleep deprivation.
And poor sleep wreaks havoc on your creativity.
Research shows that poor sleep negatively impacts both NREM and REM stages of sleep and can reduce creativity by up to 40%.
“Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it. But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.” – Phillip Gehrman, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Insufficient Sleep & Alzheimer’s
If you sleep poorly, you’re at increased risk for earlier onset of severe dementia.
Sleep Loss Linked To ‘MASSIVE BRAIN DAMAGE’
Sleep is necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Wakefulness is associated with mitochrondrial stress, and without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in.
Catching up on “sleep debt” on the weekend will not prevent this damage.
Chronic Sleep Disruption May TRIGGER ALZHEIMER’S ONSET
People with chronic sleep problems may develop Alzheimer’s disease sooner than those who sleep well.
“Memory is consolidated when we sleep. Sleep is a critical period for the brain to flush itself of toxic plaque that over time can cause breakdown in neuronal activity and contribute to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.” – Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Pittsburg School of Medicine
Insufficient Sleep and Mental Health
People who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.
Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. People with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well.
In a study of… 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without.
In fact, insomnia is often the first symptoms of depression.
Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
“Disrupted sleep is a typical symptom for disorders like depression and anxiety. Emotional distress can cause sleep rpoblems, but poor sleep hygiene can also exacerbate any preexisting mental disorders.” – Christine Hatchard, Psy.D., Assistant Professor, Monmouth University
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