The Hidden Costs of a Lack of Sleep

The boundaries between work and home continue to blur. One result is the lack of sleep. Writing meeting plans at midnight and checking emails at 7 am can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Light from electronics close to bedtime can disturb the circadian rhythm. Then there’s the constant stimulation, like a daily dose of espresso — or more. It’s no surprise that insufficient sleep has increased in the past three decades. A third of Americans report sleeping less than the recommended seven to nine hours. The American Psychological Association reports most Americans “would likely be happier, healthier, and safer if they had between 60 and 90 minutes more sleep per night.”

Dr. Mayank Shukla recently explained the importance of sleep in 24/7 Wall Street. If we spend a third of our day doing something, it means it’s of the utmost importance to our health. Dr. Shukla goes on to explain how a lack of sleep is linked to a host of health problems. These include diabetes, heart problems, obesity, depression, and even mortality risk. Read on to find out the true costs of not getting enough sleep. Then, contact Dr. Shukla, a leading sleep specialist in New York, for help getting your sleep on track.

The Danger of Not Being Alert

The most obvious sign of a lack of sleep is feeling tired. In particular, if you are nodding off in front of the TV, at work, or during meals, you know you need more sleep. Feeling your eyes get heavy when behind the wheel is dangerous and can put your life and others’ at risk. Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation by not getting enough sleep.

The Pain of Mood Disturbance

Another major sign of insufficient sleep is mood disturbance. This can be an enduring problem like depression. People who struggle with insomnia are 10 times more likely to experience depression. Or, it can show up as feelings of agitation or irritation at things that don’t normally bother you.

You may find yourself short-tempered with your loved ones more often and can’t explain why. Consider getting more sleep. Sleep and anxiety are also strongly connected. Sleep loss can make anxiety worse. Only one night of sufficient sleep can help.

The Cost of Social Isolation

Loneliness has been found to be as health-damaging as smoking or obesity. Certain sleep disorders can lead to social withdrawal and loneliness.

The Fog of Memory Loss

The neural connections that form memories are strengthened during REM sleep. “We form memories during REM sleep,” says Dr. Shukla. You experience REM sleep during the second half of the night, and it is the most restful part of sleep. This is why you are so tired when you are woken up too early. If you don’t get enough REM sleep, “it’s harder for the brain to transfer the memories to long-term.”

The Shock of Aging Faster

Who doesn’t want to slow down the clock when it comes to aging? If you’re not getting enough ‘beauty rest,’ you are accelerating the aging process. Giving the body less time to restore itself leaves you with an old and tired look. A major sign is dark circles and puffy bags around the eyes. The skin also regenerates and tightens during sleep. Insufficient sleep leaves you with more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slower recovery from sun damage, and less elasticity.

The Stress of Pain and Inflammation

It’s true that being in pain causes sleep disturbance. But it’s a two-way street, with a lack of sleep causing even more pain. Not sleeping enough lowers your pain tolerance. It can also interfere with the effects of pain killers. Finally, it increases inflammation all over the body. This causes what feel like flare-ups of existing aches.

Slow Metabolism and Weight Gain

When you are sleep deprived your metabolism cannot do its job. Not getting the right sleep-wake balance disturbs the hormones that regulate metabolism. Adding to that, Dr. Shukla notes people who do not get enough sleep often prefer sweets and junk food. Both of these lead to quick weight gain.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Insulin resistance is the first step on the way to diabetes. Not everyone who has insulin will develop Type 2 diabetes, but they are more at risk than those without it. “Sleep deprivation can lead to less insulin, which controls blood sugar, to be released by the liver after a meal, and more cortisol, which further hinders insulin’s job. The combination leads to high blood sugar levels, increasing the risk for diabetes,” Dr. Shukla explains.

More Symptoms of a Lack of Sleep

Other risks associated with a lack of sleep include:

  • Alzheimers Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Early Death

Sleep Doctor NYC

Dr. Shukla is New York’s leading sleep specialist. He treats insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders. Don’t put your health at risk. If you are having a sleep disturbance, seek proper treatment from a qualified expert. Contact Dr. Shukla today!

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