Five Ways Sleep Affects Overall Health

Lack of sleep can cause serious health problem in the long run. 

It’s true that adults don’t need as much sleep as kids, but there’s still a minimum amount of sleep required for your body to function properly. Lack of sleep has all sorts of negative effects on your overall health. Check out these five things a lack of sleep can do.

You’re More Likely to Make Mistakes

When you’re tired, you don’t perform as well at work, you’re more likely to get in an accident, and your memory isn’t as sharp. That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to rest and process all the information it received during the day. During your sleep cycle, your brain clears out unnecessary synapses to make room for new ones. This isn’t an optional function — all living things must sleep to give their brains time to rest and organize.

Your Skin Ages Faster

Lack of sleep also leads your body to release more cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin collagen. Without healthy collagen, your skin loses its elasticity and smoothness. That’s why people who frequently don’t get enough sleep get a sallow look and appear older. They can also get dark circles and bags under their eyes. Growth hormone is released while you sleep, which is necessary for repairing damaged skin and tissue. That’s why you look your best when you’re well-rested.

You Are at an Increased Risk for Heart Attacks and Strokes

A recent study by the World Health Organization suggests that people who don’t get enough sleep are 2.6 times more likely to have a heart attack than those who sleep a full seven to nine hours at night. The risk of stroke is even higher. This is because heart disease is caused by high blood pressure, a common side effect of not getting enough sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep also tend to be overweight or have other underlying diseases, such as Type II diabetes and insulin resistance, which can complicate heart disease further.

You Can Fall Into Depression More Easily

Depression affects millions of people each year, and it’s sometimes triggered by a lack of sleep. Insomnia is often the first sign. That’s why it’s so important for people who are prone to mood disorders to get enough sleep at night. If you’re depressed, it’s harder to get things done and your overall quality of life is negatively impacted. You need to find a way to get more sleep, whether that means adjusting the temperature in your home for sleep or seeing a doctor to find the reason for your insomnia.
 

You’re More Likely to Overeat

The hormones that regulate your appetite go into effect while you sleep. That’s why you don’t get hungry while you’re asleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can lead to an increased appetite, which can then lead to obesity. Plus, the more time you’re awake, the more time there is to eat.
 

 

There are all sorts of ways to improve your sleep. It helps to exercise regularly, eat well, eliminate stress, and avoid caffeine and other stimulants before going to bed. You should also see your doctor if you’re suffering from a chronic condition that is affecting your sleep. Sleep is important to your overall health, so you should do what you can to ensure you get enough.


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25 thoughts on “Five Ways Sleep Affects Overall Health

  1. I was getting poor sleep and decided to go see a doctor for it. Now I am sleeping well and it is true that my health has improved and I am not eating late at night.

  2. Sleep is such an important part of our overall health. I personally LOVE sleep so I have never really had any sleep related health issues but this is a great post for those who are not getting the proper sleep.

  3. It is so important to get a good nights rest every night. I went for a very long time without a good night sleep, I didn't realize just how much it was affecting me until I changed a few of my pre-bedtime habits.

  4. Thank you for giving me all of these things to worry about due to my regular (or should I say: constant) lack of sleep ;). But it's complete involuntary! I'm hoping my children become more solid sleepers soon so that we can all get a better night's rest—on a regular basis.

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