Lack of sleep does more harm than leaving you with dark circles. While short-term effects can be brain fog, lack of concentration, and fatigue, the long term effects are much worse. All individuals should get a sound sleep of at least 8 hours though it may vary depending on your age and occupation. However, many factors like stress, health issues like sleep apnea can cause a hindrance in this. The long-term effects range from physical as well as mental health issues.
Here are five health risks you might have to deal with if you suffer from lack of sleep or insomnia.
According to WebMD, there is a U-shaped curve when it comes to sleep length and cognitive decline. If you sleep too much or too little, several health issues may arise. Lack of sleep is more likely to increase the risk of dementia. If you are having trouble sleeping, especially if you are in your 50s and 60s, consult a healthcare practitioner. While this does not necessarily mean you have Dementia, your healthcare practitioner can help you figure out what is causing you sleep troubles.
A recent study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, United State, has found a connection between depression and sleep problems. People with insomnia have ten times more chances of developing depression than those who get a good night’s sleep, according to the researchers. Patrick H Finan, an expert in behavioural medicine and sleep researcher at Johns Hopkins Hospital says, “Poor sleep may create difficulties regulating emotions that, in turn, may leave you more vulnerable to depression in the future—months or even years from now. And depression itself is associated with sleep difficulties such as shortening the amount of restorative slow-wave sleep a person gets each night.”
Effect on Endocrine System
Sleep deprivation can impact the production of hormones. That means endocrine disorders, in particular metabolic disorders, can impact your body. An interruption in growth hormone production can adversely impact the growth of muscle mass and repair cells as well as tissues, along with other functions. Full functioning of the pituitary gland, too, requires adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Your body’s ability to heal and repair blood vessels is put at jeopardy when you don’t get enough sleep. These interrelated health issues can be kept at bay by following a sleeping cycle, doing enough physical exercise during the day, and avoiding eating a few hours before bed time.
Waking up throughout the night can leave you more vulnerable to respiratory infections like, common cold and flu. Existing respiratory diseases like chronic lung illness can also become worse due to inadequate sleep. This is because your immune system is being prevented from building its defences. The immune system produces infection-fighting elements like antibodies and cytokines that fend off viruses and bacteria.