A good night`s rest is of utmost importance for both physical and mental health since the body recharges and refreshes itself during sleeping. In brief, during sleep, the body is working hard to maintain physical health and reinforce healthy brain function.
Numerous processes occur in the body while sleeping, which helps the brain cells repair damaged tissues and store data in the memory.
In case of ongoing sleep deficiency, these vital processes fail to be performed on time, which makes us wake up irritable and prone to side effects which take their toll on our health.
It has been scientifically shown that lack of sleep is associated with serious conditions, including diabetes, heart-related conditions, and even cancer. Below you have a list of 6 diseases which are caused by sleep deprivation:
1. Cardiovascular Disease
Although the strong link between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular issues has been suggested earlier, a recent study presented at the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology shows the strongest evidence so far.
The researchers followed 657 Russian men between the ages of 25 and 64 over the course of 14 years. It has been found that up to two-thirds of the men who experienced a heart attack had a sleep disorder. What`s more, the ones with a sleep disorder were at higher risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.
2. Ulcerative Colitis
A 2014 study found that lack of sleep or excessive sleep may cause ulcerative colitis, a inflammatory bowel disease characterized by ulcers in the digestive tract.
The findings gathered from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital show that the right amount of sleep is key to fighting off inflammation responses within the digestive tract which are often the cause of diseases like Chron`s disease and ulcerative colitis.
This study involved women from the Nurses` Health Study and found that those getting 6 hours of sleep a night or less had an increased risk for ulcerative colitis. On the other hand, getting 9 hours of sleep showed reduction in this risk, meaning that adequate amount of sleep works as preventative measure against these diseases.
3. Diabetes and Obesity
Many studies have shown a strong relation between sleep deprivation and diabetes, but a study done by researchers at the University of Chicago showed how poor sleep leads to obesity and eventually to diabetes. The researchers looked at the effects of sleep deprivation on the accumulation of fatty acids which have an impact on the ability of insulin to control blood sugar.
They looked at 19 different sleeping patterns and concluded that men who slept for 4 hours for three nights in a row had elevated fatty levels in the blood, which was actually 15-30% more than those who got 8.5 hours of sleep every night.
4. Alzheimer`s Disease
According to a study done by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, sleep deprivation triggers the onset of Alzheimer`s disease and it accelerates its progression. This study was a follow-up of a study that found that sleep is needed for the brain to remove ‘cerebral waste’ which may lead to dementia.
This study involved 70 individuals at the ages between 53 and 91, showing that ongoing sleep deficiency led to higher amount of beta-amyloid deposition in their brains. This compound is definitive marker of Alzheimer`s disease, which shows that lack of sleep inhibits brain`s ability to remove this ‘cerebral waste’.
According to a 2014 study, poor sleep is associated with higher incidence of suicide in adults. This 10- year study was done by researchers at the Stanford University of Medicine and involved 420 participants, from middle to late adulthood.
Even 20 participants with sleep disorder committed suicide, which showed that people with ongoing sleep issues were 1.4 times more likely to commit suicide. White males over the age of 85 were more prone to suicide, which led the researchers to conclude that increased suicide rate is associated with stress and poor sleep with come with age.
6. Prostate Cancer
Ultimately, a 2013 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention showed that people with sleep disorders were at increased risk for prostate cancer.
The study involved 2,425 Icelandic men between the ages of 67 and 96 and found that men with sleep issues had 60% higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
The risk doubled in men with difficulty staying asleep and those with sleep issues had higher chance of having later stages of prostate cancer. According to the researchers, this link is attributed to melanin whole levels were found to inhibit tumor growth. On the other hand, people exposed to artificial light, which is often the cause of sleep deprivation, are at higher risk of aggressive tumor growth.