We need a good night’s sleep to help our body renew and recharge our energy. But what many do not realise is that a prolonged lack of sleep will affect our daily function and put us at risk of serious illness. The cumulative effect of sleep deprivation can be devastating for our overall health – and it will soon be reflected in your skin, and your weight.
Some of this information will surprise you, but will explain some things that you may not have linked to your sleeping habits.
How you can be at risk from lack of sleep
1 Cancer risk increases, particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer. The link between lack of sleep and cancer has been thoroughly investigated and as a result the World Health Organization defined shift work with its broken sleep patterns as a carcinogen.
2 Weight gain follows because fatigue makes us hungrier. If you don’t get enough sleep then you will tend to consume hundreds of calories more a day.
3 Infection risk increases as studies have revealed that pro-inflammatory proteins are found in large amounts in people suffering from a lack of sleep. The tendency to inflammation is a danger in itself that can lead to many other diseases.
4 Depression is a common side effect of lack of sleep because poor sleep not only affects our physical state, but our mental state as well. The psychological distress that comes with decreased sleep can also be a fertile ground for various mental health issues.
5 Emotional intelligence reduces because anyone who does not get enough sleep finds it difficult to connect with others and to and read their feelings. This applies to everyone, including family, friends and colleagues, so you may be unable to produce the appropriate response when with others and this can have serious consequences.
6 Immune system weakens because your body needs rest to keep it strong to fight illness and infection. If you do not have enough sleep your immune system is left vulnerable and you more open to disease.
7 Diabetes risk increases as many studies have shown that lack of sleep increases the body’s resistance to insulin. This means you are increasing substantially the risk of type 2 diabetes.
8 Skin ageing and damage as a lack of sleep causes the body to release excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. It is this hormone that is responsible for breaking down the collagen in the skin, the protein that keeps it smooth and supple.
9 Life expectancy is reduced and this is brutally clear. Those who sleep less than 6 hours a night have four times the risk of death in the next ten years than people who sleep six hours or more.
10 Heart Disease is a risk because the tension and stress caused by lack of sleep causes the body to release hormones that can cause a heart attack. Those who sleep less than 6 hours a night increase their risk of death as a result of heart complications later in life by a massive by 48%.
Boosting your immune system, exercising and eating healthily will all help and hormone balance plays a part too. Many women struggle with sleep issues at menopause and supplementing with progesterone makes a real difference.