Sleep Problems and Disease Relationship

18/07/2012

There is a surprising and very strong sleep problems and disease relationship that frequently goes unrecognized, because it is difficult to link the lack of rest to anything other than baggy eyes and some crankiness. True, the actual ability to think clearly and be productive can easily be seen, but other chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, and other long-term health consequences are more difficult to connect with the fact that you’re not getting your 8 hours every night.

Equally, research is also showing that there is a sleep problems and disease relationship for individuals who are asleep for too many hours every night. Individuals who are typically sleeping for more than nine hours every night will also often experience health struggles.

There are three primary forms of sleeping study that have been performed in order to help scientists to understand the sleep problems and disease relationship. These are:

  • Sleep deprivation – where volunteers are deprived of rest and are examined for the short-term impacts that can lead to disease over time. These generally show results with heightened stress, higher blood pressure, blood glucose control impairment, and higher levels of inflammation.
  • Cross-sectional epidemiological studies – these give the participants questionnaires that they fill out regarding their typical sleep habits and duration as well as identifying any condition or disease that they also have. This helps to show that individuals who receive a certain amount of sleep are associated with various conditions and problems.
  • Longitudinal epidemiological studies – these are the studies that provide the strongest evidence of a sleep problems and disease relationship. It looks into long term habits for resting with the development of various diseases among individuals who had been healthy at the beginning of the research.

Among the most common health conditions that are linked with sleep issues are:

  • Obesity – many studies are finding that there is an increased risk of weight gain among people who are sleep deprived.
  • Diabetes – those with too little sleep have a higher likelihood of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. This is because of the strong impact sleep deprivation has on the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels.
  • Mood disorders – individuals with too little sleep are often moody or irritable, but over time, it can build into a full anxiety, stress, or mood disorder, as well as depression or various forms of mental distress.

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