Despite sleep is one of the most blissful and relaxing things, but it is also one of the most essential. In fact, while sleeping there are millions of processes that go on, thus helping the brain to commit things to memory, whereas cells regenerate and repair the damaged tissue while we were awake.
On the other hand, in case we don’t sleep, none of this happens and we will we awake feeling cranky the next day as well as have a difficult time concentrating, and prolonged periods of sleep deprivation that may have serious consequences on our general health.
Actually, there is ample research that was carried out on exactly what happens to different body parts if we are not getting eight hours each night.
In addition, these studies have shown that the lack of sleep can trigger a slew of serious and life-threatening conditions: cancers, heart problems, diabetes, etc. Also, what exactly are the conditions that have been officially associated with poor sleeping habits?
1. Alzheimer’s disease
In 2013, a study was carried out by the researchers at Johns Hopkins University that showed a lack of sleep can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease as well as affect the speed of the disease’s progression.
The study included 70 adults, between the age of 53 and 91, and those participants, who reported getting poor sleep each night, showed a higher amount of beta-amyloid deposition in their brains on PET scans. Moreover, this compound is considered as a definitive marker of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease has also been associated to poor sleep, but a recent study that was presented at Euro Heart Care, i.e., the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting showed greater evidence of a strong correlation.
Furthermore, 657 Russian men between the ages of 25 and 64 were followed for 14 years, and it was discovered that almost two-thirds of those, who had a heart attack, also experienced a sleep disorder.
Also, those, who complained of sleep disorders, also were found to have a 2.6 times increased risk of myocardial infraction, which is a heart attack that occurs when the heart muscle dies, as well as a 1.5 to 4 times higher stroke risk.
3. Obesity and diabetes
Diabetes has long been related to poor sleep, but also there is a recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Chicago that found how poor sleep can potentially trigger obesity, and ultimately, contribute to diabetes.
Namely, in the study 19 men’s sleeping patterns were examined, which showed those participants, who got just four hours of sleep over the span of three nights, had high levels of fatty acid within their blood between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., i.e., this was actually a 15 to 30% increase over those, who got 8.5 hours of sleep every night. Additionally, it was found out that the increased fatty acid levels led to a increased insulin resistance, which were all the signs that they contribute to pre-diabetes compared to those, who got more sleep, didn’t show the same markers for obesity or pre-diabetes.
It is actually shocking, but there is a recent 2014 research that found a correlation between increased suicide incidences in adults and poor sleep, regardless of their past history of depression.
In other words, 420 participants from middle to late adulthood, were examined during a 10-year study carried out by researchers at the Stanford University of Medicine. Actually, out of this group, 20 participants reported that suffer from poor sleep and unluckily they committed suicide. As a result of this, it was concluded by the researchers that those, who were experiencing sleeping difficulties consistently, were 1.4 times more likely to commit suicide.
They also pointed out that those, who were more vulnerable to this effect of poor sleep, were white males at the age of 85 years or older.
According to a 2014 study, ulcerative colitis, i.e., an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by ulcers within the lining of the digestive tract, and also Crohn’s Disease can be triggered by both sleep deprivation as well as excess sleep.
Also, it was found out by the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital that the adequate amount of sleep is necessary in order to curb inflammation responses within the digestive system that usually contribute to the two diseases.
Moreover, after examining women enrolled within the Nurses’ Health Study, i.e., NHS I since 1976 as well as NHS II since 1989, it was found out that ulcerative colitis risk was elevated as sleep per night was decreased to 6 hours or less.
It was also found out that more than 9 hours of sleep elevated the risks, thus suggesting that the threshold for stopping digestive inflammation is a very narrow window, which requires just the right amount of shut-eye. Even though this response was only found within adult women, the increased possibility of ulcerative colitis development when getting poor sleep existed despite other factors such as weight, age, smoking and drinking.
6. Prostate cancer
A study that was published in 2013 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal found an increased incidence and severity of prostate cancer in patients who suffer from sleep issues.
Additionally, 2,425 Icelandic men between the ages of 67 and 96 were followed for three to seven years, and it was found out that the chance of developing prostate cancer was elevated in 60% of men, who had trouble falling asleep. What’s more, those participants, who experienced sleep issues, were also more likely to have later stages of prostate cancer.
This link was associated with melatonin, i.e., a hormone for sleep regulation. Increased melatonin levels have been previously found to suppress tumor growth, whereas melatonin levels in those exposed to too much artificial light, which is a known cause of sleep deprivation, were actually found to have more aggressive growth of tumor.