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Sleep and Health: How Issues Can Escalate to Other Health Problems

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INSOMNIA, FREQUENT WAKING, and other sleep issues are serious problems that can interfere with your ability to succeed in daily life. It’s easy to focus on how tired you feel during the day, and how difficult it is to focus on work or spend time with your loved ones when you’re daydreaming about slipping between the sheets, but there are some bigger issues that you also want to consider. It turns out that there is a connection between how much you sleep and health problems that can threaten your existence. This takes concern over your sleep habits to a new level.

When Problems with Sleep and Health Issues Collide

When your mind and body are deprived of sleep for an extended period of time, it causes internal chaos. While you’re reaching for your third cup of coffee or stopping by Starbucks, there are changes occurring inside your body that leave you vulnerable to everyday cold and flu viruses being passed around at work or school, as well as some more serious medical issues.

sick with cold-1.jpgIt starts by weakening your immune system in general. Proteins, needed to mount an effective immune system attack on intruders, are produced in lower amounts when you’re deprived of sleep. If you know that you don’t get the sleep that your body needs and you’re always the first one to catch the cold or flu, there’s likely a connection between sleep and health in your everyday life.

Science has also proven that the chronically sleep-deprived are also at greater risk for the following health problems:

    • Obesity
    • Type II diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke

It makes sense that you would be at higher risk for these serious medical conditions if your body is deprived of sleep on a routine basis. Your immune system isn’t functioning as it should under those conditions, and you aren’t giving your body time to repair damaged cells or tissues. Your body does incredible work to keep your body healthy while you sleep, and deprivation of that times takes a toll over time.

You’re also more likely to develop depression if you aren’t sleeping properly. Studies have shown that insomnia isn’t a side effect of depression. It’s also a likely cause of depression, so you need to sleep just as much for your mental health as your physical health.

What About Sleeping Too Much?

While not getting enough sleep is a problem for millions of people around the globe today, there are also many people who can’t seem to wake up enough to function at their best. They walk through life groggy and may look just as tired as insomniacs and those who can’t sleep for more than three hours at a time – yet they’ve had 12 hours of sleep, and sometimes even more. This is the opposite of insomnia, so it’s called hypersomnia.

Not only does the inability to wake up feeling refreshed and alert after a long period of sleep put you at greater risk of accidents due to grogginess, but it’s also a potential warning sign of an underlying health condition. Those with depression and other psychological problems often sleep more than their bodies need for rejuvenation. Physical problems like thyroid issues or problems with the liver or kidneys are options as well.

You can also increase your risk of heart disease by up to 34% while watching your weight climb on the scale simply by sleeping too much. This is likely due to the simple fact that you’re less likely to achieve the amount of active hours that your body needs to remain healthy if you’re sleeping more than eight hours each night. You may want to consider a brisk walk or attending an exercise class out of the house rather than lying down for that afternoon snooze.

Managing Your Sleep and Health Problems

Did you notice that whether you sleep too much or too little, you’re at a higher risk for obesity and heart disease? Sleep disorders in general are potentially deadly. If you aren’t already paying attention to your sleep schedule, now is the time to make some changes. Start by setting up a comfortable sleep environment and sticking to one bedtime and wake-up time all seven days of the week.

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