The risks associated with insomnia

Babies eat, sleep, poop and repeat. Sleep is a basic function. Just because we age doesn’t mean we don’t need sleep. Our bodies need sleep to recharge and function. Let’s talk about the importance of sleep.

Sleep deprivation affects brain function

When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain doesn’t function properly. You aren’t able to properly process information or even remember everything you’d like to when you are tired. Your anxiety levels can also increase with lack of sleep.

Weight gain is associated with lack of sleep

Studies have shown that we need about 7.5 hours of sleep to lose weight. This is because of two hormones: ghrelin and leptin. The first hormone, ghrelin, tells you when to eat. When you don’t have enough sleep you have too much of this hormone. Leptin on the other hand tells you when to stop eating. Lack of sleep results in lack of this hormone. When you see the equation of too much ghrelin and too little leptin the result is consuming too many calories. Pair that caloric intake with a lower metabolic rate due to lack of sleep and you get weight gain.

When tired you feel down

Depression also has a strong correlation to sleep deprivation. Often times depression is even triggered by insomnia. Many researchers believe that treating sleep deprivation can reduce the risk of depression or at least lessen the severity of depression. For your mental health, it is important to have sleep conditions treated so that you can lead a better life.

Increasing the risk in other health conditions

Your body doesn’t work as well due to a lack of sleep. Lack of sleep leads to:

  • A four times greater risk of stroke.
  • A greater chance in developing diabetes. This is because of an increase in the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine which are associated with insulin resistance.
  • An increased risk of breast cancer. When you stay up late you are often exposed to light late at night. This light decreases your melatonin, the sleep hormone. When you decrease melatonin, you disrupt estrogen production which can lead to breast cancer. 
  • Increased risk of heart disease. Lack of sleep leads to higher blood pressure which goes hand-in-hand with heart disease. When you sleep your blood pressure lowers giving your heart a much needed break at the end of the day.

If you are having difficult sleeping, take these steps:

  • Stick to a schedule. Try to go to bed for the night and get up at the same time every day. Your body will thrive on routine.
  • Try to eat around the same time every day. Allow your body enough time to process your food before you lay down. This also will help you go to bed without being too full or starving.
  • Get enough activity during the day. Having an active lifestyle is healthy for your body. It helps you to release needed hormones for better function.
  • Limit naps. Naps can sometimes be counterproductive and make you feel more groggy. They can also keep you from sleeping as well at night.
  • Manage your stress. Find exercises that help you manage your stress better so that you aren’t worried all the time.
  • Lastly, make sure your sleep environment is a restful one. Sleep at a comfortable temperature and limit blue lights before bedtime as this prevents your brain from turning off for the night.

Building healthy sleep habits will have a positive impact on your overall health. Our team at Healthstar Physicians Premier Medical is here for your family and loves to help you establish healthy habits. We’re Newport’s compassionate and experienced healthcare provider. We’re accepting new patients, and we accept most forms of health insurance. Contact us to find out more.