due to lack of sleep
Many times, we brush aside a full
night's sleep due to our busy schedules, a need for "down time" that keeps us up, or simply life's
circumstances. But a lack of sleep can result in more than just feeling tired (which is bad enough). Medical
experts warn that chronic sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health.
Here are some health problems that may
result from lack of sleep.
While not all cancer risks are affected
by lack of sleep, studies have indicated that breast and colon cancer risk is greatest for those who work night
shifts. Apparently, the exposure to light in the night-time hours reduces the body's production of melatonin.
Melatonin is a brain chemical that helps promote healthy sleep, but it may also reduce tumours and protect
against cancer as well. The less you sleep, the less melatonin your body manufactures.
Statistically, heart attacks occur more
often in the early morning hours. Experts believe this may have something to do with the particular way that
sleep and waking affect the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that the health problems that often lead
to heart disease - obesity, high blood pressure, etc. - are exacerbated by lack of sleep.
The cardiovascular system, which is
believed to go into a more relaxed state during sleep, can be taxed during prolonged period without sleep. In
some cases, three days without sleep can lead to a heart attack or heart failure. Blood pressure has also been
known to go up due to lack of sleep, with some cases being reported where the pressure actually
When you don't get enough sleep, you
tend to be moody and irritable, which is not good for any relationship. Also, sleep problems may lead to
partners sleeping separately, or resentment on the part of one or both of the partners for the problem. This
kind of tension may affect any children in the family as well.
An inability to think straight or think
constructively is a problem associated with sleep deprivation. You may have trouble remembering things, too, if
you are not getting enough sleep. There is a noticeable drop in alertness and cognitive ability, which can
sometimes appear to be cumulative if the lack of sleep is prolonged. Sensory information can sometimes be
processed slower than normal.
From automobile accidents to accidents
on the job, sleep deprivation has been implicated in all sorts of accidental injury situations. The brain just
does not react as quickly or efficiently when you are starved of sleep, and clumsiness and mistakes are also
symptoms associated with lack of sleep (and accidents).
Psychiatric conditions are among the
potential consequences of not getting enough sleep, with conditions such as depression and anxiety often being
used as examples.
The ability to control body temperature
is also disrupted, with some people losing the ability to regulate body heat altogether after prolonged periods
with disrupted or broken sleep cycles. Significant lack of sleep has also been known to speed up the aging
process of the skin, making a person seem older than they actually are.
The immune system can also be impaired
by a lack of sleep, making a person more susceptible to infection and disease.