5 Surprising Health Facts About Not Sleeping Enough
1.) Being sleep deprived increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which also increases the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that continually getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, in particular 4.5-6 hours, decreases the level of insulin released into your body after eating and increases the level of stress hormones released into your body, such as cortisol. This increase in cortisol levels makes the low levels of insulin even less effective; therefore, allowing too much glucose to stay in your bloodstream and increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
2.) Lack of sleep decreases the effectiveness of your immune system. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation. A lack of these decreases your body’s ability to respond to infections, such as the flu, and can even make the vaccine itself less effective.
3.) You are more likely to have an increased appetite when you do not get an adequate amount of sleep. Leptin, an appetite regulating hormone, levels fall in humans when they are sleep deprived. This results in an increase in your appetite, which can of course lead to over eating and unhealthy weight gain over time.
4.) It can make you “lose your mind”. Lack of sleep can seriously impact your cognitive function. From simple forgetfulness, to actual degradation of your brain’s white matter (crucial for learning), a bad night of sleep or no sleep at all will at the very least hurt your ability to focus and solve problems. At the worst, consistently lacking sleep will leave you more susceptible to mental health disorders.
5.) It impairs the regulation of key bodily functions. Without adequate amounts of sleep, your body’s circadian rhythm will be thrown off. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock, which regulates key functions of the body such as blood pressure, body temperature, hormones, etc. When you do not get enough sleep, you inhibit your body’s ability to regulate these functions, leading to health problems.