Sleep deprivation and chronic disease

Sleep experts believe that sleep deprivation and inadequate sleep is becoming frightfully common and it can be bad for health in more ways than one. According to Harvard School of Medicine's Healthy Sleep site there is a real link between chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and depression and chronic lack of sleep.

People who sleep for six hours or less a night are more likely to be overweight compared to those who sleep for seven or more. Sleep deprivation also causes imbalances in hormones that control appetite, raising the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that raises appetite and reduce levels of leptin, the hormone of satiety.

Earlier this year a group of French scientists published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that measured the food intake of 12 men and found they ate 2000 kilojoules a day more when they slept only four hours the night before, compared to when they slept for eight.

A new study links sleep deprivation with heart disease. Sleeping fewer than five hours a day more than doubles the risk of being diagnosed with angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke.  And sleeping more than seven hours also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease; more than nine hours of sleep results in a 50 percent increase in risk. The maximum risk is for adults under 60 years of age who slept five hours or less a night. They increased their risk of developing cardiovascular disease more than threefold. Sleep deprivation in women also raised the risk by two-and-a-half times.

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