Sleep deprivation is awful, the next day you feel like death warmed up. Your brain works slower, your body is lethargic and you will find that you are far more emotional than normal. All it takes is a few hours less than normal and you will feel the impacts. Over the long term it can have a very detrimental impact on your physical and mental well being. Here are four of the most serious ways that sleep deprivation can impact you.
It turns out that lack of sleep increases your appetite. We have two hormones that help to regulate our appetite, leptin and ghrelin. When we are sleep deprived these hormones get thrown out of balance. Leptin helps to induce satiety, or the sense of fullness, and ghrelin helps to make us hungry. When we miss sleep the levels of ghrelin increase and the levels of leptin drop, making people hungrier. What is worse is that we not only want to eat more food but we want to eat fatty food. Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, the worse the sleep deprivation is the bigger the appetite for bad food.
A recent study by a team at the University of Chicago found that if you are missing out on slow wave sleep then your body’s sensitivity to insulin will decrease. They also found that when there was a lack of slow wave sleep the body actually needed more insulin to remove the glucose but the insulin secretion did not rise, which can lead to an increased risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. Your body's reaction to loss of sleep can resemble insulin resistance, which a precursor to diabetes. Insulin helps your body use glucose for energy and with insulin resistance the cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.
Research coming out of Harvard University has shown that people who only slept for five to six hours a night had an increased chance of cardiac disease. Lack of sleep has been connected to a rise in cortisol, which is also called the stress hormone. With an increase in cortisol people who already have an existing issue will experience a rise in blood pressure the day after they have had a bad sleep. Over time the increasing levels of cortisol will increase the chances that a person will suffer a heart attack.
Sleep problems can also increase the risk of cancer. It has been shown that a lack of sleep impacts your melatonin levels. This hormone is made by the brain as you sleep and is vital in helping to remove the free radicals that build up in your body. With a decrease in melatonin there are more free radicals and a great chance of cancer developing as the body is unable to fight it off.
These are only some of the issues that a lack of sleep can bring about or exacerbate. If you are not sleeping well at night then you really need to try to sort it out as it can have a huge impact on your long term health and wellbeing.
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