What it Means
With today’s increased levels of stress and anxiety, is it any wonder that many of us are not getting enough sleep? According to Dr. Ajaz Yasmeen, Specialist Internal Medicine, chronic sleep deprivation has been defined as preventing individuals from obtaining their usual amount of sleep within a 24 hour period which is less than seven hours per night but greater than four
hours per night. “Chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body, which increases the risk of developing heart disease, strokes, and other conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity,” he says. Heart Disease and
Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the risk of suffering from a stroke or heart disease, according to a major long-term study. “The trend for late nights and early mornings was described as ‘a ticking time bomb’ by the researchers at the University of Warwick who linked a lack of sleep to a range of disorders which often result in early death,” explains Dr. Yasmeen.
Getting eight hours of sleep every night is one of the best ways to regulate stress hormones like cortisol. Although getting your rest at night is best, making up for lost hours by taking a nap
during the day can still help normalize your cortisol levels. Since high cortisol can cause a myriad of health problems (like elevated blood sugar, food cravings, high blood pressure, mood
swings, irritability, acne, muscle loss, and more) keeping cortisol in the normal range is pertinent for good health.
Recent studies indicate there are links between certain sleep problems and the development of Metabolic Syndrome which is a medical diagnosis that refers to the presence of at least three of the five primary risk factors that are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The results of the study revealed that 70 percent of people who do not sleep well and 80 percent of those who have trouble falling asleep are twice as likely to develop symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome as those who do not experience sleeping difficulties.
Researchers found that decreased sleep duration is associated with a heightened risk of incident-impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) — a prediabetic condition characterized by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but yet not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can also affect your performance by reducing cognitive ability – your ability to think and use your brain. Combined with drowsiness, this can greatly increase the risk of car accidents because you’re less able or quick at thinking your way fast out of a dangerous problem.
Growth Hormone (GH) is secreted during the first round of deep sleep. As both men and women age, they naturally spend less time in deep sleep, which lowers GH secretion. Lack of sleep at a younger age, however, could drive down GH prematurely, accelerating the fat-gaining process.