Sleep is not only pleasant, but also necessary. While you sleep, your body performs countless functions, including cell growth and repair. It is also responsible for regenerating worn muscles and tissues with energy and nutrients (1).
Sleep balances hormones, supports your immune system, and helps your memory function properly. That’s why poor sleep not only makes you dull and lethargic, but it also makes you unfocused and forgetful.
Insomnia and illness
Here are 6 conditions that are directly caused by lack of sleep.
- Alzheimer’s disease
Because sleep is necessary to remove waste from tired brain cells and restore old and damaged structures. If this is not done properly, it can lead to cognitive decline, dementia, and other brain diseases (2).
In 2013, Johns Hopkins University researchers found that lack of sleep is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
70 adults aged 53-91 participated in the study. Participants with poor sleep had more beta-amyloid deposits in their brains on PET scans.
Because this compound is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers believe that poor sleep prevents the brain from clearing beta-amyloid debris, making the brain more likely to develop the disease (3).
- Obesity and diabetes
University or Chicago researchers have proven that poor sleep is linked to obesity and eventually diabetes (4).
They found that lack of sleep leads to the accumulation of fatty acids, which affects metabolism and insulin sensitivity. When researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 19 men over 3 nights, they found that men who slept just 4 hours had 15 to 30 percent higher levels of fatty acids in their blood than participants who slept 8.5 hours a day ( 5 ).
Shorter sleepers also had symptoms of diabetes and obesity, while more sleepers did not.
- Cardiovascular diseases
It is not surprising that sleep plays an important role as cardiovascular disease is greatly influenced by diet and lifestyle (6).
At their annual meeting, the European Society of Cardiology presented evidence that sleep directly affects the risk of heart disease (7).
A study involving 657 Russian men aged 24-64 over 14 years found that two-thirds of heart attack sufferers had sleep disorders.
It has also been found that people with poor sleep are 2.6 times more likely to have a heart attack or myocardial infarction caused by necrosis of the heart muscle. They even had one and a half to four times the risk of stroke.
Poor sleep can cause serious mental health problems.
In fact, a 2014 study found a link between suicide and poor sleep in adults, regardless of past depression (8).
A 10-year study at Stanford University School of Medicine followed 420 young and middle-aged people. Unfortunately, 20 of the participants who had poor sleep committed suicide (9).
Chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of suicide by 1.4 times.
The researchers compared their results with other studies and concluded that poor sleep increases the risk of age-related health problems, particularly among men aged 85 and older.
- Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by the formation of ulcers along the digestive tract. Studies have shown that colitis, along with Crohn’s disease, is strongly associated with insomnia (10).
In 2014, Massachusetts General researchers looked at women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) I since 1976 and the NHS II since 1989, and found women who slept 6 hours or less (regardless of other risk factors) were the most likely. age, weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption) were more likely to develop one of these conditions (11).
Ironically, getting more than 9 hours of sleep puts women at risk, which is key to controlling inflammation in the digestive tract.
- Prostate cancer
In a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, researchers found that sleep can actually protect the prostate (12).
The study involved 2,425 Icelanders aged 67 to 96 and studied their sleep patterns over a period of 3 to 7 years. Men with poor sleep were 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with poor sleep