In our society, it is common to go to sleep too late at night and wake too early in the morning. Many people interrupt their sleep patterns with medications, caffeine, school, or work, while also staying awake late at night on the computer or in front of the television. Whether it is because of lifestyle choices or due to a sleep disorder, sleep deprivation and bad sleep habits can have serious implications on your health. The lack of sleep can have the following physiological effects:
- Increased risk of diabetes mellitus
A study from 2005 showed that patients who slept for only a few hours of sleep each night were at an increased risk of developing type-II diabetes, possibly due to impaired glucose tolerance caused by restriction of sleep.
- Effects on cognitive function
It has been suggested that sleep deprivation may be linked to serious mental illnesses, such as psychosis, depression, and bipolar disorder.
- Decreased immunity and healing capability
The lack of sleep has been shown to hinder the healing of wounds and burns. Not getting adequate sleep is also linked to an impaired immune system, making a sleep-deprived person more likely to catch a cold or other infection.
- Weight gain or loss
Without sleep, your body’s food intake and energy expenditure go up. This typically results in weight gain in places where food is readily available, such as the United States. Many studies suggest that America’s obesity epidemic may be in part due to a decrease in the average number of hours that people sleep each night.
To improve your sleeping habits, fix a time to go to sleep and a time to awaken. Your body will become accustomed to falling asleep at certain times, but only if you go to sleep at a fixed time each night. Avoid napping during the day and try to avoid alcohol or caffeine for 4-6 hours before going to bed. Exercising regularly can also help to improve your ability to sleep.
Is lack of sleep affecting your life? Menorah Medical Center offers a sleep disorders program to help each patient having difficulty sleeping find relief. Contact us at (913) 498-6000 to learn more about our services.