Consequences of Lack of Sleep on Health

The consequences of lack of sleep are numerous and have been demonstrated today:

increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, etc.

How to explain the links between lack of sleep and these various health problems?

Impact of sleep on weight

Many people have experienced this: when we spend a shorter or poor quality night, we are more drawn to fatty and sugary foods.

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This phenomenon has been studied and can now be explained: indeed, two studies, confirm that sleep deprivation models our brain and our desire for “junk food” or unhealthy food, showing that some Specific centers of reward “light up” when faced with foods high in sugar, salt and fat when we lack sleep.

Therefore, a reduced brain activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, and an increase in activity in the reward centers.

This tendency is particularly noticeable after a sleepless night: the brain regions of the frontal lobe that control judgment and complex decisions are dulled by lack of sleep. The most primitive brain structures, which regulate desire, show an amplified activity.

This brain activity altered by lack of sleep could explain why people who sleep less tend to be overweight or obese.

This association of insufficient sleep and higher body mass index is stronger in children and adolescents.

Impact of sleep on cardiovascular disease 3

A chronic lack of sleep leads to the production of hormones and molecules that increase heart risk but also other risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

A study by Warwick Medical School 1 of nearly 500,000 participants shows that prolonged sleep deprivation, or chronic sleep disturbances, can have serious long-term health consequences. This deprivation can increase the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disorders by up to 48%, often responsible for early death.

Conversely, sleeping too long also presents risks: more than nine hours of regular sleep can also be an indicator of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.

Impact of sleep on psychological functions

Numerous studies have shown that a lack of sleep, such as after a sleepless night, irreversibly damages the brain.

On the other hand, sleeping too much can also have a negative effect! Indeed, the heart Study shows that regularly prolonged nights of sleep beyond 9 hours herald a double risk of developing dementia in the next 10 years. Indeed, longer nights would be associated with … smaller brains! However, a “shrunken” brain volume is associated with cognitive decline and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias or neurodegenerative disorders.

When we look at the notion of quality of life, sleep therefore appears to be an essential factor: good sleepers have a much better quality of life and a lower risk of depression.

In short, a normal duration, neither too short nor too long, of six to nine hours of sleep per night, according to the personal needs of each one, allows optimizing the quality of life.

What you must remember

It is now proven that sleep deprivation can lead to:

An increase in the body mass index, overweight

A risk of cardiovascular diseases

Impairment of cognitive functions

To optimize the quality of life, sleep duration of between 6 to 9 hours depending on personal needs, is ideal.