How Sleep Can Help Or Hurt Your Health

How Sleep Can Help or Hurt Your Health

July 13, 2018
Healthy Sleep

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep makes you feel better. You awake feeling refreshed and full of energy. Whereas a bad night of sleep results in feeling groggy and even grouchy. But the importance of sleep goes so much deeper.

Inflammation

Even one night of bad sleep could cause inflammation. A study by the UCLA Cousins Center research team determined that individuals who get six or fewer hours of sleep could be affected. In instances of sleep deprivation, particularly in women, the body triggers the production of tissue-damaging inflammation, which can lead to numerous health problems, including stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

Obesity

Lack of sleep can affect your hunger, metabolism, and insulin levels. If you’ve ever stayed up late to watch a movie or sporting event, you recognize that you tend to feel “snacky” late in the evening. Not only that, but typically, your willpower is down and you are more likely to make bad choices in regards to what you eat.

Sleep deprivation can also interfere with your exercise plans. You may hit snooze when your alarm goes off, or you may simply feel too fatigued to hit the gym.

The effects of obesity are cyclical. Lack of sleep could lead to obesity and that extra weight could result in obstructive sleep apnea, which interferes with one’s ability to get a solid night’s sleep.

Blood Sugar Levels

According to WebMD, sleep “plays a key role in controlling your blood sugar (or glucose), which affects your chances of getting diabetes.” Normally, blood sugar levels rise between 4:00 to 8:00 in the morning while you sleep, which is known as the “dawn effect.” Insulin then absorbs the excess glucose through muscle, fat, and liver cells. However, someone with poor sleep habits may have trouble responding to the insulin in the body, therefore resulting in an increase in glucose. This, in turn, may lead to diabetes.

WebMD reports that a study of 4,000 people in which sleep habits were recorded. Individuals with less than six hours of sleep were twice as likely to have an insulin sensitivity or diabetes, even when other lifestyle choices were taken into account. Additionally, lack of sleep, as already stated, can result in obesity, which, along with diet, can lead to diabetes.

It’s also interesting to note that those who slept too much – nine hours or more – could also have an increased chance of developing diabetes.

Memory and Coordination

Sleep deprivation can change how your brain sends information and processes memories. Sleep helps maintain a healthy central nervous system, which is often called the “information highway” of the body. During normal sleep schedules, the neurons in the brain help you to remember things that you’ve learned. If the brain becomes exhausted, it will not function properly, making it difficult to concentrate or to maintain new concepts. Additionally, there may be a delay in sending information, which results in fractured coordination skills and a potential increase in accidents.

Mood

Sleep affects your mood in obvious ways. After a full night’s sleep, you’re more apt to be cheerful and less irritable. Whereas, those with depression often experience disrupted sleep, which can add to feelings of sadness and overwhelming despondency. Some patients experience relief from their depression symptoms after getting treatment for insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep issues.

Shorter Lifespan

The body needs sleep in the same way that it needs food, water, and oxygen. In addition to these numerous issues which can affect your overall health, poor sleep schedules and insomnia can cause long-term effects on the body. Your body will no longer function properly and your quality of life will be affected. An analysis of 16 studies found that continuous decreased sleep patterns increase the risk of an early death by 12 percent.