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Why is sleep so important? 7 negative effects of lack of sleep

While there is likely to be many more health problems that could be associated with insomnia, here are seven good reasons to turn of the TV, get to bed a bit earlier and get some more sleep.


  • Lack of Sleep Slows Down Your Mind

Even just one night of insufficient sleep can heavily impact on your alertness, attention span, concentration and problem solving capabilities the next day. People who regularly do not get enough sleep, particularly when they’re young, could be negatively affecting their intelligence levels and overall mental development.


  • Higher Risk of Accidents

Research has shown that issues with sleeping leads to more injuries on the job and a higher chance of traffic accidents. So when you don’t get enough rest and you drive the next day, you’re not just a risk to yourself, but to others as well. Being tired behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as being drunk and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver fatigue is the cause or significant factor in more than 100,000 car crashes and in over 1,500 road related deaths a year.

  • Heart Disease and Diabetes

People suffering from insomnia are considered to have a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack. In fact, a recent study published in the European Heart Journal found that those experiencing trouble falling asleep, problems staying asleep and not waking up feeling rested in the morning are three times more likely to develop heart failure over an 11 year period. Diabetes has also been strongly linked to insomnia and lack of sleep. Though there is a valid question to be raised as to whether the prediabetic condition could be contributing to sleeplessness in the first place. It’s very important to visit a doctor and have the simple test if you experience extreme thirst, regular tingling in your hands and feet, blurred vision or constant fatigue, even after a good night’s rest, as these are possible indicators of diabetes. Is juicing for diabetes a good idea? Find out here.

  • Missing out on Sleep Can Make You Fat

Regularly sleeping less than six hours a night has been shown to increase hunger and appetite, particularly for high carbohydrate foods that promote excessive insulin secretion and lead to body fat storage. One study found that those who slept less than six hours regularly were nearly 30% more likely to become obese than those who slept between seven and nine hours. Interestingly, after nine hours the benefits of sleep are actually reversed in the weight loss area so this may be an indication of the optimal resting time.

  • Insomnia Ages You

Most of us know that we don’t look our best after a very late night, but sleeplessness can have longer-term aging affects as well. When we are tired we tend to run on cortisol, the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol have been shown to break down the collagen proteins that ‘glue’ your skin cells together, leading to fine lines, poor tone and wrinkles. Deep sleep is also needed to repair your skin and release optimal amounts of human growth hormone which affects, amongst other things, the firmness of your skin and the tone of the muscles underneath it.

  • Sleeplessness Affects Memory

During sleep the things you’ve learnt and the experiences you’ve had during the day are believed to be organised in your mind properly for future access. If you don’t get enough sleep tonight you may have trouble remembering clearly what you experienced today in the near future.

  • Depression and Sleep

Insomnia is also linked to developing depression. Some research has found that people who regularly reported an inability to sleep were five times more likely to develop symptoms of depression. There is again a question as to whether depression led to the sleep loss or vice versa. Regardless, getting a good amount of sleep is considered vital in treating depression effectively.


Editor’s note: This article was republished with permission from Helen Sanders, Chief Editor at Health Ambition

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