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Hidden Health Hazards of Losing Sleep

Do you know the hazards skipping out on sleep can have on your health? (photo credit: BigStockImages.com)

Do you know the hazards skipping out on sleep can have on your health? (photo credit: BigStockImages.com)

Everyone knows that not getting enough sleep can make you short-tempered and moody.  You may have even noticed that you struggle to pay attention or remember things when you are over-tired.  But these side effects are generally short-lived and unlikely to impact more than a day or two of your life.  Unfortunately, if you string too many sleepless nights together, you are opening yourself up to a wide range of serious health hazards that can impact the rest of your life.  The next time you are trying to decide whether or not you should skip some sleep in favor of something else, remember these hazards and make the right choice for your overall health.


Heart Disease and Cardiovascular Problems

A study published in 2010 in the journal Sleep found that people who sleep less than 7 hours of sleep a night on average had an increased risk of heart disease.  The study used data from the 2005 National Health Interview Study which included 30,397 people to find correlations between the amount of sleep people got and the prevalence of heart disease.  This study also showed that women who were under the age of 60 and got less than 5 hours sleep a night had twice the risk for these problems than others.

A study conducted this year at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands and published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that getting adequate sleep and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.  The team found that getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night when paired with a healthy diet and a moderate level of exercise reduced the risk for heart disease by 65%.

Another study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that sleeping less than 6 hours a night increased the risk of suffering from a stroke.


Obesity and Diabetes

Various studies have shown that there is a strong link between not getting enough sleep and an increased risk for obesity and diabetes.  One study from Diabetes Care (http://www.uab.edu/news/latest/item/2483-sleep-debt-hikes-risk-of-stroke-symptoms-despite-healthy-bmi) found that not getting enough sleep may be an independent risk factor for developing diabetes.

Other research has shown that not getting enough sleep affects hormonal balances, glucose tolerance, and even the food choices we make.  All of the factors contribute to obesity and diabetes.



Although there is still questions as to the source of the link between lack of sleep and an increased risk for certain types of cancer, research has shown that simply losing sleep can make you more susceptible to specific types of cancer.  A study published in the British Journal of Cancer established a link between getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night and an increased risk of breast cancer in women.  Another study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found a link between sleep duration and prostate cancer risk.  The increased risk for cancer may be linked to increases in inflammation and suppression of the immune system that can be present after sleep loss.


Client Reviews

"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA