6 Diseases Your Lack of Sleep Could Be Causing

by in Health January 4, 2017

Sleep is a crucial period of time for all living creatures, and there are many different important processes that happen while we sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you might suffer from one of these diseases.



Sleep may seem unnecessary, however it is very important. Many of the processes that take place during sleep are crucial to your health. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for many different diseases and disorders! John Steinbeck says, “it is a common experience that a problem dealt with at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” John Steinbeck may be right too!

Sleep allows time for your brain to repair itself and the rest of your body. Studies show that people who have adequate amounts of sleep also have higher test scores. During sleep, your brain essentially ‘cleans house’. Sleep helps the brain reorganize and prepare for the next day. The physical healing of wounds is expedited by sleep, and sleep strengthens the immune system in general. Rats deprived of sleep in experiments show distinctly inferior healing capacities, develop skin lesions, lose body mass, and are unable to maintain a stable body temperature, ultimately dying of sepsis or just “exhaustion”. If you do not get a sufficient amount of sleep, you may suffer from complications like this mice.

  • Alzheimer’s – If you do not get enough sleep, your body can suffer in many different ways. For instance, A 2013 study performed at Johns Hopkins University showed that a lack of sleep could lead to Alzheimer’s disease! This is because sleep is needed to eliminate cerebral waste. A buildup of cerebral waste can present symptoms like those of Alzheimer’s. It can also speed up the progression of the disease.
  • Diabetes and Obesity –  Lack of sleep can have really negative effects on your immune system. During sleep, the immune system produces protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies and cells. This is necessary for the body to fight off pathogens and infection. When you are sleep deprived you can not build up forces to fight disease. Without sleep, you can experience increased risks of cardiovascular problems or diabetes. There is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to the pre-diabetic state,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County. According to Mahowald, the body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.
  • Cardiovascular Disease – Not only can sleep depravation damage your cardiovascular health, it can also cause cardiovascular disease! After following 657 Russian men between the ages of 25 and 64 for 14 years, researchers found that nearly two-thirds of those who experienced a heart attack also had a sleep disorder. This study was performed at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.
  • Depression – If you are deprived of sleep, you may suffer from depression. In fact, ¾ of clinically depressed people have severe issues with sleeping. Insomnia is a well-proven risk factor for suicide! It affects people of all ages and across all cultural differences.“In many cases, we often see insomnia and then, later on, depression follows,” said Dr. Peter Meerlo, a behavioral physiologist at the University of Groningen who focuses on the relationship between the brain and sleep. “This doesn’t in itself yet prove that there’s a causal relationship. It still may be that disrupted sleep and mood disturbances are both a result of some third underlying process, but the observed relationship has at least put the issue on the map.”
  • Ulcerative Colitis – Not getting enough sleep can cause inflammation in the digestive system. It can cause digestive issues like Ulcerative Colitis. While sleep deprivation did coexist with a greater number of ulcerative colitis cases, after a certain length of time the risks began to rise again. The findings resulted in a U-shaped curve where too little sleep each night — defined as less than six hours — and too much — more than nine hours — upped people’s risks. These risks were independent of other environmental factors, such as age and weight, and other habits, including smoking and drinking.
  • Cancer – A study in the International Journal of Cancer found a relationship between women’s irregular work schedules and the rate of breast cancer. Researchers compared 1200 women who had developed breast cancer between 2005 and 2008, with 1300 women who did not have a cancer diagnosis. They found that the rate of breast cancer was 30 percent higher for the women who had worked shifts. Women who had at least four years of night shift work, as well as those with fewer than three-night shifts per week (keeping them from ever fully adjusting to one schedule), were at highest risk. Shift work has also been shown to increase the incidence of certain cancers—for example, prostate cancer—in men.

Accordingly, sleep is crucial for your health. Without sleep, your body cannot repair itself. Sleep is a period of time where important processes take place in the body. If the body cannot fulfill these processes, you will experience very negative side effects. These side effects include diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In extreme cases of sleep deprivation, you can experience an increased risk for cancer. Women are put at risk for breast cancer, while men are at risk for prostate cancer. It is always better safe than sorry! Allow your body to repair and prepare!