Have you heard someone saying “I’ll sleep when I die, now is the time to live”?
This sounds fun and all, but in reality, our body suffers.
Sleeping is not the only time when you take a rest to clear your mind and get on the hamster wheel again.
When you sleep, your whole body is in “repair” mode.
Every harmful thing that happened on a micro or nano level during the day is fixed during the sleeping period.
But you know this right? You know this on a theoretical level.
The question is, do you know what is happening on a practical level if you don’t sleep for a long period?
Today is the day to find out.
A month ago, I was on a seven-day, 4 hours per day sleep sprint because of work. Researching this topic for you made me hate myself, and probably you’ll be scared too when you read what can happen to you if you avoid sleeping.
Let’s take a look.
1. Alzheimer disease
In 2013, researchers from Johns Hopkins University conducted a study on 70 adults between ages of 53 and 91.
What they found is that the ones who reported poor sleeping habits had markers for Alzheimer disease.
Because they had a beta-amyloid deposition in their brains on PET scans or in other words a “cerebral waste,” or the garbage-like buildup that can accumulate and cause dementia.
Simply put, when you don’t sleep you gather a lot of trash/spam in your brain and if you don’t sleep it starts to rotten in your brain and makes you sick.
The conclusion was that a lack of sleep could be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease and also a catalyst for increasing the speed of the disease’s progression.
Source: Spira AP, Gamaldo AA, An Y, et al. Self-reported Sleep and β-Amyloid Deposition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. JAMA Neurology. 2013.
2. Can cause obesity and diabetes
High levels of fatty acids.
This is what I want you to get out of this part.
Sleeping less? Your blood will be filled with fatty acids, and the whole body will be one big acidic environment where a lot of infections can be born.
Researchers from the University of Chicago studied how irregular sleep affects the human body.
Studying 19 men’s sleeping patterns, they learned that if you sleep four hours at night, after three days, your body will have 15-30% more fatty acids than if you sleep 8.5 hours per night.
Here’s the bottom line.
The increase in fatty acid levels can cause a higher level of insulin resistance. They attribute these signs to pre-diabetes.
3. Can Cause Cardiovascular Diseases
Yes, when you don’t sleep, your heart gets sick.
I mean YOUR HEART, the main machine that keeps you alive.
I’m pretty sure you know that lack of sleep is linked to this kind of cardiovascular diseases.
But take a look at this study presented at EuroHeartCare, (annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology):
By studying 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 had a sleep disorder.
The men that complained of sleep disorders have a 2.6 times higher risk of myocardial infarction. (This is a heart attack that occurs when the heart muscle dies) and a
Also, these men have 1.5 to 4 times greater risk of stroke.
4. It can lead to a suicide
The Stanford University of Medicine conducted a ten-year research in 2014.
They studied 420 men ranging in the middle to late adulthood. What they found is that 20 men with sleep disorder committed suicide.
When they did the math, they concluded that the ones with poor sleeping conditions are 1.4 times more likely to commit suicide.
Health problems, stress and other conditions that come with age are also accelerators for an occurrence of suicide.
5.Can cause Ulcerative colitis
Apparently, studies show that Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease can be caused by lack of sleep but also excess sleep.
I know, this can be overwhelming but bear with me.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease marked by ulcers within the lining of your digestive tract.
A study conducted in 2014 by the Massachusetts General Hospital shows that the right amount of sleep is necessary to curb inflammation responses within the digestive system which often lead to the two diseases.
Additionally, two studies on women conducted since 1976 and 1989 (Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) I and II) found that risks of ulcerative colitis increased when a person decreases its sleeping time to 6 hours or less per night. Also, when a person sleeps 9 or more hours, the risk increases as well.
This means that our body needs sleep in a right amount and that’s it. No need to spend a whole day in bed to “recharge.”
6. Prostate Cancer
They were following 2425 men between the ages of 67 and 96 for three to seven years.
The study of this research was published in 2013 by the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal. What they found is that the danger of developing prostate cancer rose in 60 percent of the men who had trouble falling asleep or having difficulty staying asleep.
You may ask, how a lack of sleep is related to cancer?
Well, it is because of the melatonin, a hormone known to regulate sleep.
There you have it. Sleep good and live a healthier a longer life.
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