9 Ways Lack of Sleep is Affecting Your Health

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By Elena Morgan

9. Diminished sex drive. Testosterone is a key ingredient in the male sex drive: when the levels are high, the sex drive is increased; then the levels are lower, the drive is lower. Recent studies have suggested that testosterone levels are regulated by sleep, with sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea translating into diminished testosterone levels.

8. Lowered learning abilities and intelligence. Sleep plays an integral role in the cognitive processes involved with attention, concentration, and problem solving. Sleep, and the cycles your brain undergoes while sleeping, is actually more beneficial towards learning and memory retention than studying and cramming hours at a time.

7. Impaired immune system. Lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your immune system. Proteins called cytokines are released when you sleep and help combat inflammation, infections and disease. Sleeplessness reduces the amount of these proteins and makes it harder for your body to fight back against sickness. Lack of sleep has even been linked to obesity, high blood pressure and risk of stroke.

6. Depression. Depression is very closely linked with levels of sleep and many people suffering from depression note sleeping less than six hours a night or insomnia. The symptoms tend to exacerbate one and the other, making it difficult to say which came first, or which caused which. It has been proved that treating insomnia can significantly lower the symptoms of depression.

5. Impaired judgment. The American work ethic has become one of a rigorous and demanding work schedule with less time for socializing and even less time for sleeping. Eschewing sleep for work may actually worsen the quality of the work as sleep deprivation causes lapses in judgment and the ability to recognize those lapses- a “catch 22″ for those who aren’t aware of the negative effects. The detriment to the alertness of the brain causes us to make decisions that we might not otherwise have made.

4. Can lead to accidents. In conjunction with the impaired judgment from lack of sleep, sleep deprivation causes a significant lack in response times, which can lead to greater chances of accidents on the road or in the workplace. Sleep deprivation can even be as dangerous behind the wheel as drunk driving.

3. Memory loss. Unsurprising, in light of the effects of sleep on learning, memory performance is acutely tied in with sleep. Memory consolidation is the processes by which we solidify new information through transference in brain waves and regions. Sleeping facilitates this memory consolidation, allowing your brain to make the changes without too much interference or competition from other tasks of your brain.

2. Obesity Risk. While there are many factors to be considered in obesity-genetic predispositions, lack of physical activity coupled with decreased caloric expenditure, mental conditions. Sleep has also been found to affect obesity. Those sleeping less than six hours a week, in conjunction with those conditions already listed, are prone to bigger appetites and cravings for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods to sustain the need for more energy. The weight put on, compounded by age, is much harder to get rid of and tends to stick around, eliciting a whole new set of problems.

1. Stroke, Heart disease, Diabetes and Cancer. Because of the higher risk of obesity, and the high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods craved by those suffering a lack of sleep, the risks of contracting diabetes is far higher for the sleepless obese. And if not diabetes, high blood pressure and clogged arteries can follow, leading to hypertension and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

About the Author: Elena Morgan is a sleep expert and a mother of 2 boys. She is striving to reduce stress and achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find Elena reviewing home décor for companies like Unison. Click here to see some products she recommends.

Elena Morgan

About Elena Morgan

Elena Morgan is a sleep expert and a mother of 2 boys. She is striving to reduce stress and achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find Elena reviewing home décor for companies like Unison. Click here to see some products she recommends.