Sleep deprivation can be a health concern, and can put you at risk for a multitude of diseases. Hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart attacks and strokes are just a few of the likely risks of sleep insufficiency, and can also greatly affect your weight and overall wellness.
According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one third of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, which is classified as a “public health problem.”
If you’re getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, you are sleep deprived. In turn, your weight, and overall health, can be greatly affected! When you’re short on sleep, you may rely too heavily on caffeinated beverages, you might be tempted to skip exercise since you are too tired, you may opt to eat unhealthy foods, and then in turn will have problems falling asleep due to lack of exercise and healthy eating.
Experts agree that getting enough shut-eye is as important to health, well-being, and your weight as are diet and exercise. In our new blog below, NJ Diet shares the ways that sleep deprivation can affect your diet and wellness, and provides tips on how to help make sleeping a priority in your daily life!
The Health Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation
Research suggests that the risk of developing depression is highest amongst those suffering from sleep insomnia. When we have a terrible night’s sleep, we’re irritable, short tempered and grumpy. So consistently lacking the necessary amount of sleep can lead to bigger issues, including clinical depression. Getting a good night’s sleep can make you happy, calm and ready to take on the day.
The CDC says 49.2 million Americans report having trouble concentrating and 38 million have trouble remembering things. These sleep-related difficulties are cognitive dysfunction. Sleep deprivation risks go beyond being forgetful, however. Cognitive dysfunction can be dangerous, especially for those in hight-risk careers and even when we drive. Drowsy driving is the underlying cause of 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year, so a lack of sleep really can be a matter of life and death.
Compromised Immune System
Cold and flu season is here, and a weak immune system can make for a bad winter. Research has shown a direct link between a weakened immune system and sleep deprivation. Short-term loss of sleep had a direct and significant impact on immune system functioning, and it was found that sleep loss even increases inflammation.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension and sleep deprivation very often exist simultaneously. But why? The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research explains that sleep allows us to regulate stress hormones efficiently. Basically, our modern, sleep-deprived lifestyle leaves our stress systems in over drive. Long periods of rest give bodies the time they need to reset.
Sleep is essential for a healthy heart, those who get fewer than six hours of sleep per night were at higher risk for heart disease, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Not only do age, weight, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to cardiovascular disease, sleep deprivation puts you at a higher risk. Make sleep a priority towards taking care of your heart health.
A lack of sleep is a huge contributing factor towards struggling to lose weight. Sleepiness leads to a decrease in motivation to diet and exercise, and leptin levels fall with too little sleep, promoting an increase in appetite.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate glucose (sugar). Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep presents the glucose and endocrine characteristics of a diabetic. Researcher also shows that sleep deprivation affects hormone levels and specifically the body’s ability to regulate glucose.
When the body’s biological clock is disrupted, we may be at an increased risk of certain cancers. For those who work nighttime shifts, the disruption of our body’s natural circadian rhythm (also known as our sleep-wake cycle) greatly affected health issues. Whenever possible, switching shifts in a clockwise direction can help to develop healthier sleep habits.
Why A Lack Of Sleep Can Affect Your Weight
Skimping on sleep dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the focus of decision-making and impulse control. When you don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions, you may overindulge and make bad choices – especially when it comes to your diet. While you might be able to avoid food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to over-indulging.
Studies found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks. In fact, sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours.
Sleep And Metabolism
Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night, and your body will react negatively if you do not consistently get a good night’s sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body triggers a cortisol spike. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours, and you’re more apt to hang on to fat.
Researchers find that when dieters cut back on sleep, the amount of weight they lose drop significantly – even though their calories may stay equal! They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals, and their energy is depleted. From a physical standpoint, your body’s ability to process insulin — a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy — becomes erratic. When your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, it cannot properly process fats- so it ends up storing them (thus causing weight gain)
Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
Today more than ever we find sleeping to be increasingly difficult and inconsistent. The reason being is due in large part to the increase of “screen time” on whole. Our computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets all lure us into staying up longer, and causing major sleep disruptions.
But these tips can aid in helping you get a better night’s sleep —
- Shut down your computer, cell phone, and TV at least an hour before you going to bed.
- Save your bedroom for sleep only. Put electronic devices in a different room and consider removing the TV from bedrooms.
- Bedtime rituals work for children, so why not as adults? Take a warm bath, meditate, or read to help transition into sleep mode.
- Stick to a schedule, waking up and retiring at the same times every day — including weekends
- Watch what – and when- you eat. Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which may cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep. Restrict consumption of soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate, as caffeine can stay in your system for 5 to 6 hours.
- Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light suppresses it. So turn out the lights!
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