Proper sleeping helps us survive. Literally. Human body cannot survive without resting, as it fills the body with energy after long, working hours. While sleeping, certain processes happen in the body and help the brain focus on memory.
During these processes, body cells regenerate and tissues repair. In this way sleeping mends all the damage that has happened while you are awake.
If you do not sleep enough, none of this would happen. You would wake up irritated and moody, not to mention the lack of concentration you shall experience.
When this happens for a long time, you are likely to experience severe health issues. A particular study involved the effect insomnia has on different parts of the body.
According to study’s findings, lack of sleep triggers serious and destructive ailments, ranging from diabetes to cancer. We have listed 6 health problems that are commonly associated with insomnia.
1. Alzheimer’s disease
In 2013, a group of researchers conducted a study at the Johns Hopkins University. They found that sleep deprivation may cause Alzheimer’s. Moreover, insomnia can affect the progression of the disease significantly. The study involved earlier studies according to which brain needs its sleeping hours in order to get rid of ‘cerebral waste,’ or the trash that tends to accumulate and cause dementia.
The study involved 70 individuals, aged between 53 and 91. It showed that participants who did not sleep enough had a larger amounts of beta-amyloid in their brain. PET scans were used to determine these results.
This ingredient is considered as a marker of Alzheimer’s. It has helped scientists find that sleep deprivation stops the brain from eliminating its waste.
2. Obesity and diabetes
Experts have associated poor sleep to diabetes for decades, but recently, researchers at the University of Chicago explained that insufficient sleep leads ti obesity and even diabetes. Fatty acids in blood affect metabolism and the ability of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar. Scientists examined the effect of poor sleep on the accumulation of fatty acid.
They tested the sleeping pattern of 19 men and found that men who slept for 4 hours or less had high fatty acid levels in their blood, which was between 4 and 9 a.m. This was 15-30% higher than the results of men who slept for 8.5 hours every night. This condition may increase insulin resistance and cause pre-diabetes. Men who slept more did not have these obesity and pre-diabetes markers.
3. Cardiovascular disease
This may be also triggered by sleep deprivation. At the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, a group of scientists presented a study that supported this claim. The study involved 657 Russian men, aged between 25 and 64. The scientists followed their sleeping pattern for 14 years, and found that about two thirds of those men who had survived a heart attack experienced a severe sleep disorder.
Men who complained of suffering from a sleeping disorder experienced 2.6 times higher risk of myocardial infraction. It is a heart attack that occurs when the heart muscle stops functioning. They also had a 1.5 to 4 times higher risk of stroke.
This may come as a shock to you, but a research conducted in 2014 showed a strong connection between higher rate of suicide in adults and poor sleep, regardless of the depression history these individuals had. Researchers at the Stanford University of Medicine conducted the study for 10 years and they involved 420 individuals in their middle to late adulthood. 20 of the participants struggled with sleep deprivation and ended up committing suicide. Researchers concluded that individuals who cannot sleep properly are 1.4 times more prone to commit suicide. White males older than 85 were the most susceptible individuals.
5. Ulcerative colitis
It is an inflammatory bowel disease in which patients have ulcers in their digestive tract lining. According to a 2014 study, sleep deprivation and excess sleeping can cause Crohn’s disease. A group of scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital found that sleeping is essential when it comes to curbing inflammation response in the digestive tract that may cause the disease.
If you sleep less than 6 hours, you are actually increasing the risk of ulcerative colitis. On the other hand, if you sleep more than 9 hours, you are also increasing this risk. Moderation is the key, right? This theory was tested on adult women, and the development of ulcerative colitis was still increased, despite their weight, age, smoking factor, alcohol and others the like.
6. Prostate cancer
In 2013, the journal Cancer Epidemology, Biomarkers and Prevention published a study according to which prostate cancer was more common in patients who had any form of sleep disorder. The study involved 2.425 Icelandic men who were examined and followed for 3-7 years. These men were aged between 67 and 96. Men who could not fall sleep had a 60% higher risk of developing prostate cancer. The number was almost double in men who could not stay asleep. These men had a higher chance of a later stage prostate cancer.
Researchers said that it was all about the melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleeping. Decreased melatonin levels triggered more aggressive tumor growth. Melatonin levels are affected by excessive exposure to artificial light, which is the main cause of poor sleep.
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