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How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Health

Lack of Zzz's Leads to Extra Pounds You Don't Need

I know I'm supposed to spend about eight hours a night snoozing away in my cozy bed, but with work, my family, and all my other commitments, sometimes sleep gets put on the back burner. I always thought that if I felt OK, then it wasn't doing any harm to my health, but recent research will have you reaching for your pajamas and pillow.

Most Americans are sleeping an average of 6.9 hours a night, and although they may just feel a little sleepy during the day, the deprivation is tremendously affecting their brain functions and reaction times. When volunteers in a University of Pennsylvania sleep study were restricted to less than six hours of sleep for two weeks, by the end, they were just as impaired as those who had been awake for 48 hours straight.

Aside from feeling foggy-headed, research also shows that lack of sleep changes how our bodies secrete hormones. It causes an increase in appetite and reduced sensation of feeling full after eating, and it affects the body's response to sugar. If you're constantly deprived of shut-eye, you're more at risk for obesity and developing diabetes. As if that wasn't enough, sleep deprivation is also linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.


Don't lose sleep over not getting enough zzz's. The effects of sleep deprivation can be reversed once you start sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours a night. In a University of Chicago sleep and appetite study, the level of hunger hormones in subjects returned to normal when they were allowed to sleep 10 hours for two consecutive nights.

If you're having trouble getting your beauty rest, ditch these foods and follow these tips for a better night's sleep.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 7 years
Love my sleep! I always try to get to bed by 11pm EVERY NIGHT which pretty much happens! :) Now getting up... hm, sometimes I get up @ 3 (work at 4) sometimes @ 4:30 (work @ 6) and then most of the other times between 7 & 8!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Every so often, I have to get up super duper early for work (2 am). The night before, I go to sleep at around 7 or 8, but I never really sleep. The next day, I'm always puffy and bloated because of the lack of sleep. After I get a decent night's sleep, I always feel a TON better.
amber512 amber512 7 years
I have actually just recently started getting less sleep. I don't even know why! I used to go to bed at 11 and wake up at 7. But now I'm going to bed at 11 and waking up between 5:30 and 6. I'm not trying to wake up so early! But once I'm awake, that's it. No going back to sleep for me.
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