April 6, 2020

We’ve all felt extremely tired, cranky, and groggy after a restless night of tossing and turning. Although occasionally missing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep might not seem like a big deal, if constant, it may do more harm than you think. Poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, motor skills, and brain function. Here are 5 effects that sleep issues can have on your overall health.

1. Heart Disease and Hypertension- Research shows that even a single night of inadequate sleep in people who have existing hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day. There is also a connection between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and heart disease. People who have sleep apnea stop breathing while sleeping, causing them to wake up multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea sufferers also experience brief surges in blood pressure each time they wake up. Eventually, this can lead to hypertension, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

2. Obesity- Lack of sleep increases hunger and appetite, which may later lead to obesity. Data shows that sleep deprivation reduces leptin. Leptin is the hormone that suppresses appetite and encourages the body to spend energy. The hormone ghrelin, on the other hand, generates feelings of hunger and increases when you’re not getting enough sleep. Not only does the loss of sleep appear to stimulate the appetite, but it also creates more intense cravings for fatty and sugary foods. With little sleep, your brain can’t use its best judgment regarding food, making you more likely to be impulsive and give into junk-food cravings.

3. Diabetes- Insufficient sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by manipulating the way the body processes glucose, which cells use for energy. One study found that a group of healthy subjects who had their sleep cut back from 8 to 4 hours per night processed glucose more slowly than they did when they could sleep 12 hours. Many sleep studies have also revealed that adults who usually slept less than five hours per night have a greatly increased risk of having or developing diabetes.

4. Memory Loss- Sleep plays a vital role in the thought process and your ability to learn. Sleep deprivation hurts these cognitive processes in numerous ways; for example, deprivation impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Poor sleep quality in adults causes memories to stay stuck in the hippocampus and not reach the prefrontal cortex. This results in forgetfulness and memory loss.

5. Decreased Sex Drive- Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Low energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be the main causes. Sleep deprivation can affect both sexual arousal and sexual function, in both men and women, resulting in less frequent and pleasurable sex. In men, sleep deprivation lowers testosterone, and in time may be linked to erectile dysfunction. In women, sleep deprivation may also lower levels of testosterone, a hormone important for the female sex drive. Therefore, reducing the desire and physical arousal in women.

If you have trouble sleeping due to increased stressors try these tips to see if your sleep improves. If your sleep disorder is still persistent, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find a sleep apnea near you with our search provider tool.

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