Medical experts at the United States Centre for Disease Control say getting adequate sleep each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.
According to them, not getting enough sleep over time can lead to serious health problems—and make certain health problems worse.
They said adults who sleep less than seven hours each night are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression. Some of these health problems, they said, raise the risk of stroke and other health complications.
“During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Having sleep problems means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period. High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke.
“Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to build up in your blood, a condition that can damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control.
“Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for children and adolescents, who need more sleep than adults. Not getting enough sleep may affect a part of the brain that controls hunger,” the CDC said.
The health protection agency noted that over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart, including higher stress levels, less motivation to be physically active, and unhealthy food choices.
According to Medical News Today, a web-based outlet for medical information and news, a person who is getting too little quality sleep may experience a range of symptoms, including fatigue, irritability, mood changes, difficulty focusing and remembering, and a reduced sex drive.
It said sleep deprivation can affect various aspects of health, including the immune system, weight, the cardiovascular system among others.
“Sleep deprivation may cause a person to be more prone to infections, which may take longer to resolve, and respiratory diseases.
“Sleep can affect the hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness. It can also trigger the release of insulin. Changes to sleep can cause increased fat storage, changes in body weight, and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
“Sleep helps the heart vessels heal and rebuild and affects processes that maintain blood pressure, sugar levels, and inflammation control. Too little sleep may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” it said.
It added that insufficient sleep can affect hormone production, including the production of growth hormones and testosterone. It also causes the body to release additional stress hormones.
“Sleep deprivation affects the prefrontal cortex, which handles reasoning, and the amygdala, which deals with emotion. A lack of sleep may also make it harder for a person to form new memories, which can affect learning,” it noted.
However, CDC recommends that to get better sleep, one needs to stick to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
“Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day. Try going for a morning or lunchtime walk. Get enough physical activity during the day. Try not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
“Avoid artificial light, especially within a few hours of bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone.
“Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime; avoid alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar in particular. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet,” it said.
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