- You can hurt your brain
How Sleep Influences Your Physical Health
Without good sleep, optimal health may remain elusive, even if you eat well and exercise (although those factors will tend to improve your ability to sleep better).
One of the explanations for why the health effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disruption are so numerous is that the circadian system "drives" the rhythms of biological activity at the cellular level. Hence disruptions tend to cascade outward throughout your entire body.
For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:
Dramatically weaken your immune system. Increase your risk of cancer, and accelerate tumor growth: When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin (a hormone and an antioxidant), which decreases your ability to fight cancer, and promotes tumor growth.
Increase your risk of heart disease. Harm your brain by halting new cell production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in your hippocampus.
Aggravate or make you more susceptible to stomach ulcers. Contribute to a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you've already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight.
Raise your blood pressure. Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as Peak Fitness Technique). Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.
Worsen constipation. Increase your risk of dying from any cause.
Furthermore, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), lack of sleep can further exacerbate other serious and chronic diseases, such as:
Parkinson disease (PD) Alzheimer disease (AD) Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Gastrointestinal tract disorders Kidney disease Behavioral problems in children
Sleeping Well Matters if You're Struggling with Your Weight
Disturbed sleep can also impair your ability to lose excess pounds or maintain your ideal weight. Research has shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who get more sleep. This is likely the effect of altered metabolism, because when you're sleep deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals satiety) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises.
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