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Losing Sleep?-- It Can Make You
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March 1, 2012, last updated March 6, 2015
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist










Are you putting sleep high on your priority list? Sleep often
comes second to checking email, catching a late-night
movie and chatting with friends in our increasingly wakeful
age. But lack of sleep could result in more than a little
irritability in the morning, a serious Starbucks spend and
falling asleep at your desk in the afternoon. Losing sleep,
bad quality sleep and late nights are linked with serious
health problems like heart disease,
high blood pressure and
cancer. Are you getting enough sleep? Can losing sleep put
your health at risk? What diseases or medical conditions
are made worse when you lose sleep?

If you are among the 50 – 70 million people in the US who
suffer
chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders (Institute
of Medicine, 2006) you could be putting your health at risk,
according to scientists.

And for the rest of us -- the 35.3 percent of us who,
according to the Centers for Disease Control, regularly get
less than seven hours’ shuteye a night -- listen up. Several
large research studies show the link between losing sleep
and disease.

Experts believe sleep disruption affects the essential
hormones and proteins that play a role in keeping you
healthy or making you sick. Many studies also show that
the sleep-deprived display increased inflammatory markers
in their bodies – inflammation is a risk factor for diabetes,
cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Could you become sick if you don’t get enough sleep? We
list the Top 10 reasons why getting enough sleep should be
a priority:






























1.
Losing Sleep Causes High Blood Pressure

More than 74.5 million of us in the United States suffer
from
high blood pressure, according to the American Heart
Association.

And lack of sleep could be a contributory factor. When we
regularly sleep less than five hours a night we are more
likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

Why? The hypothalamus in our brains helps regulate stress
hormones in the blood, but it can only do that job when we
are asleep. Lack of sleep means poorly regulated stress
hormones, which can cause high blood pressure.

Lack of deep sleep is strongly linked with an increased risk
of high blood pressure according to a 2011 study from
Brigham and Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center, Harvard Medical School that looked at older
men. Men who enjoyed the least amount of slow wave
sleep, or deep sleep, had an 80 percent higher chance of
elevated blood pressure than those that enjoyed the most.

Children, too, are affected. Teenagers who have problems
falling asleep and who wake up too early are 3.5 times
more likely to have high blood pressure, according to 2008
research from the University Hospitals Sleep Center at Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Kids that
get less than 6.5 hours’ sleep a night are 32.5 times more
likely to have high blood pressure. (Read more about the
link between
losing sleep and high blood pressure.)

2.
Lack of Sleep Makes Us Obese

Lack of sleep affects our weight in a number of dangerous
ways. For a start, when you drag yourself out of bed after
a bad night’s sleep you are less likely to go to the gym, take
a walk or prepare yourself a healthy meal. You are more
likely to nap in front of the TV with chips and caffeinated
soda. If you go to bed late and sleep late you eat more
calories in the evening, you eat more fast food and you
enjoy fewer fruits and veggies,  so say researchers in a
2011 study from Northwestern University Feinberg School
of Medicine.

When you sleep less you are also more likely to have lower
than average levels of the hormone leptin and higher than
average levels of ghrelin.


Leptin helps suppress the appetite while ghrelin increases
your appetite.

If you sleep well, over time you are more likely to become
slim and stay slim according to 2006 research from Care
Western University, Ohio. Researchers looked at 70,000
women over 15 years and found women who got less than
five hours sleep a night
were more likely to put on 33 lbs
over the 15 years
.  

In other words, lack of sleep could account for a significant
amount of weight you put on.

These light sleepers were 30 percent more likely than
women who regularly slept seven hours a night to become
obese. (Read more about
ideal weight for women of
different heights.)

Bad sleep habits early in life contribute to weight problems
growing up. Children aged under four who sleep for short
durations are more likely to be overweight or obese in later
life, according to a 2010 study from the University of
Washington, Seattle. (Read more about
ideal weight for
children.)

3.
Lack of Sleep Can Cause Cardiovascular Disease

Losing sleep can cause high blood pressure, which in turn
may result in cardiovascular disease. If you sleep less than
7.5 hours a night you are more at risk of heart disease in
the future, according to a 2008 study by Jichi Medical
University, Tochigi, Japan.


If your blood pressure rises at night and you don’t get
enough sleep you are even more at risk according to the
scientists. The researchers looked at 1,255 people and
monitored their blood pressure, noting events such as
stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death, for 50
months.


A 2015 studied confirmed the relationship between lack of
quality sleep and cardiovascular disease. This study, from
the University of Bonn in Germany, found that 88% of
those with obstructive sleep apnea --meaning they awake
at night because they stop breathing -- had peripheral
artery disease.


Seven hours is the optimum amount of sleep needed to cut
the risk of heart disease, according to a 2010 study from
the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia
University School of Medicine. Regularly getting more or
less sleep was linked with a greater risk of future
cardiovascular disease.

4.
Lack of Sleep Can Cause High Blood Pressure and
Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
.

…But too much sleep may also contribute to high blood
pressure in the third trimester, according to a 2010 study
from the University of Washington.

Women who slept more than 10 hours or less than six
hours were at higher risk of elevated blood pressure.
Pregnant women are also more likely to suffer gestational
diabetes and glucose intolerance if they don’t get enough
sleep.

A 2010 study from the Swedish Medical Center, Seattle,
Washington looked at 1,290 women and concluded those
that slept less than four hours a night were more likely to
suffer from gestational diabetes than those who slept for
nine hours or more. (Read more about
how to combat high
blood pressure during pregnancy.)

5.
Losing Sleep May Affect the Chances of Pre-Term Birth

Sleep is important during pregnancy not only for cutting
the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure but also for
lowering the chances of pre-term birth and fetal growth
restrictions. A 2011 study from the University of Crete,
Heraklion, Greece shows women with sleep deprivation
(less than five hours a night) are more likely to have pre-
term births. Women with severe snoring in late pregnancy
are more at risk of fetal growth restrictions.

6.
Sleep Deprivation Could Result in a Heart Attack

If you suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that wakes
you for brief periods hundreds of times a night as your
upper airways narrow and collapse, you could be at greater
risk of a
heart attack. Researchers from Yong Loo Lin
School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
discovered a high prevalence of obstructive
sleep apnea in
patients admitted with heart attack in their 2009 study.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart attack in
part because the pattern of disordered breathing causes
oxidative stress and
inflammation in the body.

A 2011 study from the Faculty of Medicine, Trondheim,
Norway showed insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and
staying asleep, almost every night) was associated with a
moderately higher risk of heart attack.

7.
Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Cancer

Not getting enough sleep or getting irregular doses of sleep
may increase your risk of suffering
breast cancer and colon
cancer, in news that will worry people who regularly burn
the midnight oil.

Experts think the cancer/ sleep link may be caused by
exposure to light at night.

Light exposure when we would normally be asleep in the
dark reduces the levels of melatonin hormone in our
bodies. Melatonin may protect against cancer by helping
elevate hormones such as estrogen. According to a 2009
study from Tulane University School of Medicine, New
Orleans melatonin inhibits cancer growth and enhances the
immune system.

People exposed to light at night on a regular basis, for
example shift workers, experience nocturnal melatonin
suppression and are at increased risk of developing
different types of cancer.

8.
Loss of Sleep Causes Diabetes

If you don’t get enough beauty sleep, you are less able to
regulate your blood sugar which puts you at greater risk of
developing
diabetes. Researchers from the University of
Chicago Medical Center found in their 2009 study that
people who had their sleep suppressed for just three
nights became less sensitive to insulin. Lower insulin
sensitivity increases the risk of diabetes. Surprisingly, the
researchers found the lowering of insulin sensitivity after
three nights of bad sleep was equivalent to a 20-30 pound
gain in body weight in terms of increasing diabetes risk.

9.
Sleep Disorders Can Cause Marital Stress

Let’s not forget about mental health and stress when it
comes to losing sleep.
Snoring is a common occurrence and
sleeping next to a snoring partner can cause serious
problems.

A 2006 study from The Sleep Disorders Center at Rush
University Medical Center looked at how sleep apnea affects
the partner’s sleep quality and the satisfaction or
stress the
couple consequently feels.

Couples where one partner has sleep apnea have a high
divorce rate, according to the researchers who go on to
say “this not a mild problem".

Not surprisingly, the lack of sleep for both partners puts a
strain on the marriage and creates a hostile and tense
situation."

10.
Lack of Quality Sleep May Increase Alzheimer’s Risk

Not getting enough quality sleep may also affect your
memory function and risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in
life, according to 2012 research from the University School
of Medicine, St. Louis. Researchers think poor quality sleep
may result in the build-up of amyloid plaques, an Alzheimer’
s disease marker. The study looked at 100 people between
the ages of 45 and 80, who didn’t suffer from dementia.

The patients’ sleep was monitored for two weeks and signs
of amyloid plaques were measured. People who woke up
frequently during the night were five times more likely to
show signs of amyloid plaques than people who slept
through. (Read more about
foods that fight Alzheimer's.)

11.
Eat Fish with Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Increase Sleep
Quality


As we have seen, losing sleep negatively affects your health
almost as much as smoking. Losing sleep increases your
risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.

A 2014 study from University of Oxford in the UK has
found confirmed that increasing levels of omega-3 help to
decrease sleep disturbances. That study looked at 362
children, 40% of whom had sleep disturbances.

The children, aged 7 to 9, were given 600 milligrams of
omega-3 daily. After 5 days, the researchers discovered
that the children who were given the omega-3 supplement
slept one hour longer than those who were not on the
supplement.

To help increase your sleep quality, try to get to sleep at
the same time each night. Eating oily fish rich in omega -3
fatty acids such as salmon helps to relax your arteries,
which helps you get to sleep more smoothly.




Related:

How Many Hours Should You Sleep? --A Look at Sleep
Patterns


Snoring Tips

Shallow Sleep- America's Hidden Problem

Foods That Stop Snoring/

Does Losing Sleep Cause High Blood Pressure?

More Related Links:
Sore Throat-Causes and Cures
Snoring Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke, Heart Disease

Sleep Study 2008 Results-Americans Are Chronically Sleep
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