Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health and general well-being. On average, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day to function at peak performance. Any more or less sleep can put your health at risk.
Chances are, you’ve experienced the negative effects of a restless night’s sleep at some point in your life. These negative effects can include difficulty concentrating, brain fog and irritability. But did you know that too little sleep can have major impacts on your health?
Nouraddin N. Nouraddin, MD, FACP, Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin, provides four insights into how lack of sleep can put your health at risk.
- Less sleep means less immunity
- People who get enough sleep each night are usually less vulnerable to colds and flu. As you sleep your body manufactures cytokines, which are hormones that help the immune system fight infections.
- A decrease in sleep can mean an increase in weight
- Sleep can also affect your weight. Adequate sleep allows the body to produce leptin, which is an appetite suppressor. As this natural appetite suppressor increases, the hormone ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant, decreases. People who sleep five hours a night or less have more of a chance of becoming obese.
- Lack of sleep can affect your heart
- The lack of a good night’s sleep may prompt your body to release more stress hormones throughout the day in response to normal activities. Elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline may increase your risk for heart disease.
- Too little sleep decreases your hormones
- The release of both growth and sex hormones is triggered during deep sleep. These hormones boost muscle mass, help in the repair of cells and improve fertility.
Getting too little sleep, or poor quality sleep can put your health at risk. If you are struggling with getting a good night’s sleep, it’s not too late to make your sleep a priority and learn how to sleep better.
Talk to a doctor who listens
Understanding how to improve the quality of your sleep is important for your physical and emotional health. If you’ve tried everything and you’re still struggling to sleep, you may want to consult with a sleep specialist to determine if you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea.
Find a sleep specialist who’s right for you.