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How can lack of sleep affect my health?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
A survey of students ages 17 to 30 years old showed that people sleeping only 6 to 7 hours nightly were 50 percent more likely to report having poor health compared with people getting a full night's sleep. Those sleeping less than 6 hours nightly were twice as likely to have poor health. A large survey of over 200 million adults in the United States found that almost one in five had trouble sleeping. Those individuals with sleep problems were more likely to have health problems with obesity, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, anxiety, and depression. So make sleep a regularly scheduled priority to improve your energy level, your mood, your function, and your health.
Fit As Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health

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Fit As Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health

Let your dog teach you to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life! Companionship with your pet can be used as a means and a motivator to increase your own physical and mental fitness....
Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
We all need sleep. It is essential for both your physical and mental health. If you do not get enough sleep you will crave more calories, think more slowly, have trouble with memory, and even experience psychotic symptoms in cases of long-term sleep deprivation.

Are you a chronic sleep skimper? Short sleep can throw off your two appetite-regulating hormones (ghrelin and leptin) in ways that make you eat more, gain more and get more blood-sugar problems, boosting heart attacks and strokes. Missing sleep also increases body-wide inflammation, which gunks up your arteries and fuels cancer. Could it get worse? Yep. Ignoring your body's clock messes with the sleepy-time hormone melatonin, which doubles as a cancer deterrent.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Nothing feels more rejuvenating than a good night's sleep. Getting enough good sleep (seven to eight hours, night after night) is a key to keeping your blood pressure low (aim for 115/75).

If you're barely getting 6 hours a night -- all lots of people manage -- just sleeping one more hour makes a big difference, because not getting that much increases your high blood pressure risk by a huge 37%. Why? When you don't get enough sleep, your nervous system goes into overdrive, boosting your stress hormones and throwing your whole body into high gear. Your pupils dilate, your heart rate speeds up, your digestion slows, and -- worse -- not only does your blood pressure spike but, over time, those stress hormones turn temporary spikes into permanent high blood pressure.

Think you can make up for missed ZZZs by sleeping in on the weekends? Sleep debt isn't easy to pay off. People who get just 6 hours on week nights, then crash for 10 hours on both Saturdays and Sundays, still show strong signs of sleep deprivation. You don't just feel groggy. Chronic lack of sleep is linked to everything from inflammation and depression to obesity. Lack of shut-eye throws your appetite hormones into a gimme-more mode, and affects blood sugar levels in ways that up the odds of big weight gains. Go to bed early tonight.
If someone were to question you as to the last time you had a good night’s sleep or felt well rested when you woke up, could you tell them? If you couldn’t answer this question, you are not alone.

Insomnia affects many individuals, but is more likely to affect women than men. Sleep disruption produces fatigue, reduced functioning, lowered mood and many other problems. It could also be associated with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and many more health problems. By understanding your sleep needs, adjusting daily behavior patterns and making better nutritional choices, you can actually sleep better without sleep aids.

This content originally appeared on StoneCrest Family Physicians Blog.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.