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Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep Deprivation Dangers Erwin Wodicka/PhotoSpin

Many people face sleep deprivation every day. In fact, 30 percent of employed adults in the United States are chronically sleep-deprived, says the Examiner.

Whether it’s due to a hectic work and school schedule, medical problems or a busy social life, lack of rest has a detrimental effect on one’s health.

According to an article on the ABCNews website, “In a 2010 study published in the journal Sleep, researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine reviewed data from 30,397 people who had participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Study. They discovered that those sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night were at increased risk of heart disease. In particular, women under 60 who sleep 5 hours or fewer a night have twice the risk for developing heart disease.”

In addition to cardiac disease, stroke risks are higher for those who don’t get an adequate amount of sleep as well.

The USA Today website published a study which found that the risk for stroke in those who get less than six hours of sleep is four times higher than in those who sleep the recommended eight hours a night.

A different article on the ABCNews site about the topic says, “Sporadic and irregular sleep can raise blood sugar levels and slow the body's metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes, according to an April 2012 study published in Science Translational Medicine.”

In addition, tired people are more likely to make bad choices in regards to food, because they more often crave sugary and high calorie foods.

Besides feeling drowsy or unable to focus, mental health is also impacted by inadequate sleep.

Depression is more common in people who don’t sleep enough, because the emotional functioning is impacted when a person doesn’t rest enough.

ABCNews quotes Andrea Goldstein, a study author at the University of California at Berkeley as saying, "Our results suggest that just one night of sleep loss significantly alters the optimal functioning of this essential brain process, especially among anxious individuals.”

This impacts an individual’s personal and professional relationships and ability to function in either setting.

Sleep deprivation often starts early on in life but it is important to manage it as much as possible.

Creating a sleep schedule with a set bedtime can help increase the amount of hours a person sleeps.

The most important thing to remember is that if you are having sleep issues, or have concerns about your sleep habits, seek the help of a professional who can assist you further.


"6 Health Problems Linked to Lack of Sleep." ABC News. ABC News Network, 18 Mar. 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.

"Lack of Sleep Associated with Multiple Health Risks." Examiner.com. The Examiner, 11 June 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.

"Lack of Sleep Tied to Higher Stroke Risk." Fox News. FOX News Network, 11 June 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.

Lloyd, Janice. "USA TODAY." USATODAY.COM. Gannett Co. Inc., 11 June 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.

Moisse, Katie. "5 Health Hazards Linked to Lack of Sleep." ABC News. ABC News Network, 11 June 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Sleep/health-hazards-linked-lack-sleep/stor...

Reviewed January 9, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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