A good night’s sleep is just as important as maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lives do not allow our bodies to get the rest they deserve. Not only are people sleeping less, their sleep quality has drastically declined too. To understand what poor sleep can do to you, keep reading.

1. Weight gain

There may not seem to be any connection between your weight and sleep patterns but studies, show that people who sleep less are much more likely to gain weight significantly compared to those who get enough sleep. Research suggests that lack of sleep is strongly linked to obesity.

Another major factor that may play a role in weight gain among the sleep deprived is that they have a much bigger appetite than the well-rested and tend to eat more calorie-rich foods. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re affecting your body’s daily hormonal balance and this is believed to interfere with appetite regulation. This means your body produces more ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone while levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone; leptin go down.

2. Heart disease

Not getting enough sleep is also closely related to complications involving the heart, such as heart disease and stroke. A review of fifteen studies demonstrated that people have a much greater risk of heart disease and stroke if they sleep less than those who sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night.

3. Type-2 diabetes

Research shows that insufficient sleep reduces insulin sensitivity in adults and affects their blood sugar levels. A study conducted with healthy young men showed that limiting sleep duration to 4 hours for 6 nights in a row resulted in symptoms of pre-diabetes in these individuals. The effects were fortunately reversed with a week of better sleep duration.

4. Depression

Estimates show that 90% of people with depression have poor sleep quality. Lack of sleep and poor quality sleep can go as far as increasing a person’s chance of wanting to commit suicide. People with sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia, report higher rates of depression compared to those without these conditions.

5. It affects your immune function

Just a tiny amount of sleep loss can significantly affect your immune system. One large study that monitored the development of the common cold found that people who slept less than 7 hours a night were roughly 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who got 8 hours of sleep every night.

By Shomaila Issam