Why is Sleep Deprivation so Dangerous?
Although many don’t believe it, sleep deprivation can actually harm you in ways you couldn’t imagine. Sleep is incredibly important for our mental and physical health. It helps our body and mind restore themselves and of course, fills our batteries up. As many important processes take part while we’re asleep, a proper night of rest is highly important for our health.
Aside from balancing our hormones and refreshing the immune system, sleep is also vital for our mind and memory. This is exactly why a night of poor or no sleep leaves us unable to focus and cranky. Sleep deprivation is becoming a serious problem around the world, affecting millions of people and the numbers are rising. It’s one of the leading causes of depression and other diseases and conditions you can see listed below.
Diseases Caused by Sleep Deprivation
While we’re asleep, the brain “repairs” old and worn structures and makes space for new brain cells. Get less than the recommended sleeping time, and this won’t happen, leading to dementia, cognitive decline, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a 2013 Johns Hopkins University study, sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of dementia. Those who slept less than 7-8 hours had significantly higher amounts of beta-amyloid deposits in their brain. This is exactly why you should get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
As it’s influenced by our diet and lifestyle, sleeping plays a vital part in heart disease. People who sleep less than the recommended 7 or 8 hours are at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Poor sleepers are also at an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke as well.
Obesity and Diabetes
Now you’re probably wondering, what the hell has sleeping to do with excess fat? Well, a study from Chicago University linked poor sleep to obesity and diabetes. Sleep deprivation was found to be tied to fatty acid buildup that affects insulin sensitivity and our metabolism as well.
Slow metabolism equals excess fat, while impaired insulin sensitivity will eventually lead to diabetes. That’s why you should get more sleep.
This inflammatory bowel disease is usually triggered by smoking, poor diet, and heavy weight. But, now we can also add poor sleep to the list. A recent study showed that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more likely to suffer from ulcerative colitis. Interestingly enough, those who slept more than 9 were also at a higher risk of inflammation. This means that you need to get the right amount of sleep to prevent the onset of the condition.
Lack of sleep actually raises your risk of prostate cancer if you’re a male. Icelandic researchers were recently able to find out that prostate cancer is affected by the levels of melatonin in our body. Melatonin, as most of you probably know, is a sleep hormone. If you suffer from sleep deprivation its levels could get messed up, leading to a higher risk of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Last on the list is suicide. Although not a disease in any way, it generally comes as a result of poor mental health and depression, both of which can be caused by sleep deprivation and stress. Chronic lack of sleep may be the reason behind your depression. If you suffer from any suicide thoughts, we suggest talking to your doctor to learn how to get more sleep.