Sleeping is one of the most important processes for the body. Through sleep, the body heals and recovers itself, and the process also recharges our cells and keeps us up during the day. When we sleep, millions of processes occur in the body, and one of the most important ones is the repair of damaged tissues. This is why it’s important to get proper rest overnight, and why sleep deprivation is so dangerous to our health.
According to studies, chronic lack of sleep increases the risk of several serious diseases and conditions which can have fatal consequences on our health. Here are 6 diseases that might be caused by improper overnight rest:
Obesity and diabetes
Lack of sleep has been related to obesity and diabetes, two dangerous diseases that can even be fatal. One study from the University of Chicago showed that lack of sleep can cause fatty acid buildup in the blood which are responsible for accelerating our metabolism and also regulate the function of insulin. The study examined 19 men with different sleeping patterns and found out that those who sleep less had a higher level of fatty acids in the blood between 4-9 AM. This increase in fatty acid levels increases the insulin resistance in the body and the risk of diabetes as well.
According to a study from the John Hopkins University, lack of sleep can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The study was based on previous research which said that sleep is necessary for eliminating “cerebral waste” that may lead to dementia. The subjects in the study which slept less than the others had a higher level of beta-amyloid deposits in their brain, which is a marker for Alzheimer’s disease.
Chronic lack of sleep is also related to cardiovascular diseases. One Russian study which examined more than 600 men showed that two thirds of the subjects who experienced heart attack were also suffering from a sleeping disorder. These men also had significantly higher risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.
You may not think that insomnia may lead to prostate cancer, but according to a 2013 study, the link exists. The study examined 2425 Icelandic men and discovered that those who sleep less than the recommended 7-8 hours also have a higher risk of prostate cancer. The scientists say that this occurs due to the low levels of melatonin, a hormone which regulates our sleep and inhibits the development of tumors.
This inflammatory bowel disease occurs due to ulcers in the digestive tract and may be caused by lack of sleep. Scientists say that proper sleep is required for curbing inflammatory responses in the digestive system. When this doesn’t happen, the risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease rises. Studies have shown that there’s also a link between these diseases and prolonged sleeping of over 9 hours.
According to a recent study, lack of sleep may also be related to suicide. Scientists from the Stanford University published the results of 10 years of research in 2014 in which 20 of the 420 who were suffering from lack of sleep committed suicide. The scientists concluded that irregular sleeping patterns increase the risk of suicide by 1.4 times, and the most vulnerable men in the study were those over 85.