Sleep is the essential rest of the body which supports all bodily functions. During the night, the body sleeps and thus recharges after the stressful and hard day.
During this time, millions other processes occur in the body, helping the brain to memorize things, and the cells to regenerate and repair the damaged tissues.
Therefore, the lack of sleep impedes all these processes, and prolonged sleep deprivation might seriously endanger health.
Apparently, researchers have studied the exact consequences of the chronic lack of sleep on the body, and they found that they include the development of serious and life-threatening conditions, ranging from cancers to diabetes, and heart issues.
Poor sleeping habits lead to the following six diseases:
1. Obesity and Diabetes
Poor sleep has been related to diabetes for long, but scientists at the University of Chicago recently found the way how poor sleep can potentially cause obesity and diabetes.
They analyzed the effects of little sleep on fatty acid buildup, as the levels of these acids in the blood affect the speed of metabolism and the insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
They examined 19 men with different sleeping patterns and found that those who slept for 4 hours over the span of three nights had high levels of fatty acid within their blood between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., which was 15-30% higher than those who slept for 8.5 hours each night.
Additionally, they found that the increase in fatty acid levels also increased insulin resistance, leading to pre-diabetes.
According to the findings of a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, a lack of sleep can both, lead to Alzheimer’s disease, and accelerate its progression.
The study was based on previous research that found that sleep is necessary for the brain to eliminate “cerebral waste,” or the garbage-like deposits that can accumulate and lead to dementia.
The study involved 70 adults between the ages of 53 and 91, and showed that participants who reported getting poor sleep each night had a greater amount of beta-amyloid deposition in their brains on PET scans, a compound which is a definitive marker of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Cardiovascular Disease
Poor sleep has been related to cardiovascular diseases, and a recent study presented at EuroHeartCare, the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, confirmed this link.
The study involved 657 Russian men between the ages of 25 and 64 for 14 years, and nearly two-thirds of those who experienced a heart attack also had a sleep disorder.
The men who complained of sleep disorders had 2.6 times higher risk of myocardial infraction, which is a heart attack that occurs when the heart muscle dies, and 1.5-4 times higher risk of stroke.
4. Prostate Cancer
The journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, published a 2013 study which found an increased incidence and severity of prostate cancer in patients with sleep issues.
Researchers analyzed 2,425 Icelandic men between the ages of 67 and 96 for three to seven years, and found that 60% of men who had troubles sleeping had an increased Moreover, people with sleep problems had an increased risk of having later stages of prostate cancer.
According to researchers, this is due to melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, which, when in high levels, suppresses tumor growth.
5. Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by ulcers within the lining of the digestive tract. It might be a result of sleep deprivation and excess sleep, just like Crohn’s Disease.
According to the findings of the scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the proper amount of sleep is necessary to curb inflammation responses within the digestive system which often causes these two diseases.
The study involved women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) I since 1976 and NHS II since 1989, and it was discovered that risks of ulcerative colitis raised as sleep per night decreased to six hours or less.
Research also showed that more than 9 hours of sleep raised these risks too.
According to 2014 research, there is a link between increased incidences of suicide in adults and poor sleep, regardless of past history with depression.
Researchers at the Stanford University of Medicine spent 10 years analyzing 420 participants ranging in middle to late adulthood. Twenty of these participants found to suffer from poor sleep, unfortunately, committed suicide.
It was concluded that the chronic irregular sleeping patterns elevated the risk of committing suicide for 1.4 times.
The most vulnerable were white males 85 years or older, and researchers concluded that the main culprit for the increased suicide rates was sleep deprivation, which led to health problems and stress.