I think we've all experienced what happens when your body doesn't get enough sleep. Your brain isn't as clear, you feel tired and run down, you get irritated easily, sometimes feel depressed - you're just not your usual self.
So, I think it's safe to say that we all realize that not getting enough sleep is not good for our bodies.
But, what you may not know is that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to chronic disease. Even sleep deprivation for a short period of time can cause inflammation, impair glucose regulation and increase blood pressure.
Below I've listed 5 diseases that can develop due to sleep deprivation, as well as, some tips on how to develop good sleeping habits.
1. Heart disease
Not getting enough sleep can lead to heart disease such as congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack and heart failure. A study of 657 Russian men over a 14 year period found that 2/3 of the men who developed heart disease also had some type of sleep disorder.
A study in 2005 of people in the United States found that those people who reported having depression or anxiety also reported getting 6 or less hours of sleep per night. Findings of a study of 10,000 people in 2007 showed that those who reported having insomnia were 5 times more likely to report depression as those people who got at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
3. Prostate cancer and breast cancer.
Lack of sleep can also lead to the development of certain cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. A study in hose who have their circadian rhythm disrupted, such as shift workers, are at an increased risk of developing cancer. A study of 2, 000 women between 2005 and 2008 found that the rate of breast cancer was 30% higher in women who worked late shifts. While men who don't get enough sleep are two times more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Because lack of proper sleep decreases the body's ability to regulate glucose and makes it more insulin resistant, diabetes is more prevalent in those people who don't get enough sleep on a regular basis. When the body is insulin resistant, your body's cells aren't able to use insulin effectively which results in high blood sugar and diabetes.
It's estimated that 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. WOW! This is partly due to Americans' love of fast food and junk food and leading a sedentary lifestyle. But, obesity has also been linked to those who don't get enough sleep. Lack of sleep disrupts hormones that control appetite which could lead to people over-eating. Sleep deprivation also makes people feel more tired so that they don't feel like exercising. Another reason is the simple fact that people who don't sleep much are awake longer and have more time to eat at night than people who go to sleep early.
Some things you can do to help you get a better night's sleep are:
Get plenty of exercise - The more a person moves during the day, the more tired they feel at night. So, rather than staying up late, they go to bed early enough to get plenty of sleep
Bedroom environment -Your bedroom should be cool at night (between 60 - 70 degrees F, 16 - 21 C). Also make sure to keep it nice and dark and insulated from noise.
Relax before bed -Don't engage in exercise right before bed as it causes an increase in energy in your body. Instead, relax with a book or meditate before bed.
Have a sleep schedule - Most infants and toddlers have a sleep schedule. Why should that change just because you're an adult? :-) Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. In time, you will train your body to fall asleep at a certain time every night so that you get a restful sleep.
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