How Poor Sleep Affects your Health
Reducing the number of hours of sleep you get may seem to make it easier for you to complete important tasks in your day, but a lack of sleep can affect your health in more ways than you realize. Other than feeling drowsy throughout the day, not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for serious health problems.
- Weight gain and Type 2 Diabetes studies show that there is a link between a lack of sleep and weight gain. A lack of sleep increases the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. This makes the body store fat for much longer and makes it difficult to lose weight. It can also cause a reduction in leptin (which is your brain’s way of telling you when you’ve had enough to eat) and an increase in ghrelin (which is an appetite stimulant). Insulin in the body is also increased when you’ve had less sleep and forces the body to store more fat, which can increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Weakened immune system: while you are sleeping, your immune system produces cytokines and antibodies which are useful in fighting off infections and other illnesses. Without getting those much needed hours of sleep, your immune system has a reduced chance of developing enough of these to keep you healthy and can lead to longer recovery from illnesses.
- Heart problems and high blood pressure: since a lack of sleep can result in weight gain, your cardiovascular system is going to be affected as well. Sleep gives your body the chance to heal and repair itself after a long day of work, and that includes your heart and blood vessels. Without this time off, your body won’t get this chance, and that can lead to severe damage of the muscle walls of the heart. Heart disease and stroke are common ailments for those who don’t get enough sleep each day.
Just like you need a vacation from work every now and again, your body needs a rest from constantly working throughout the day. Sleep is the best way you can allow your body to repair itself and keep you functioning at your best.