Beliefnet

Over 40 million American suffer from some type of sleeping disorder. The National Sleep Foundation found that 45 percent of Americans reported that lack of sleep is impacting their lives and health on a daily basis.

The average person sleeps seven hours per night. Of those studied in 2014, 67 percent people who suffered with lack of sleep noted that it was creating more stress, and believed this weakened their overall health. Lack of sleep causes mood disturbances, headaches, aliments, like aches and pains, and weakened the immune system. With more illnesses, the less sleep people will receive.

Sleep deprivation also leads to more mental mistakes and accidents that can be fatal. Harvard Health explained:

“People who are persistently sleep deprived are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowed blood vessels. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain. Brain cells need a lot of oxygen and sugar, so blood flow problems could affect their ability to work properly.”

Here is a look of what a lack of sleep will do to your health.

Lack of sleep impairs cognitive function, and makes it harder to learn. It effects perception, memory, performance, attention and alertness. Howard LeWine, M.D., Chief Medical Editor at Harvard Health wrote that lack of sleep hinders the brain by adding more protein.

“People who are persistently sleep deprived are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowed blood vessels. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain. Brain cells need a lot of oxygen and sugar, so blood flow problems could affect their ability to work properly.”

Sleep health is a must for the heart, stomach, lungs, and for muscles. But sleep stimulates the appetite and can lead to becoming overweight. We tend to crab high-sugar foods and crave junk food to keep us going. WebMD explained: “Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs.”

Adults 26-64 years need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Low sleep levels over time increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, heart failure and high blood pressure. Your body is working hard during the day and sleep is the body’s chance to repair itself. It lowers blood pressure, gives the heart a break, and allows the immune system to create cytokines, a protein that can fight infections in the body. Again, more sleep may help people not gain weight.

The Mayo Clinic Found: “People who don't sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night.”

Lack of sleep will feed depression and anxiety. Adults with insomnia or have poor sleep habits are more prone to mood disorders. You will be more sensitive to common threats of stress like traffic, or waiting in line. Berkley News reported scientists found that lack of sleep exacerbates anxiety.

“Neuroscientists have found that sleep deprivation amplifies anticipatory anxiety by firing up the brain’s amygdala and insular cortex, regions associated with emotional processing. The resulting pattern mimics the abnormal neural activity seen in anxiety disorders.”

You can develop healthy sleep habits. Start exercising to lower stress, refrain from caffeine in the later afternoon, and avoid alcohol to help you fall asleep. Create a sleeping schedule like taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to relaxing soft music. If you’re still having issues, call your doctor.

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