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Sleep Debt Facts

Posted on November 13, 2019 | No Comments on Sleep Debt Facts

Have you ever heard of sleep debt? People need enough restorative sleep – nightly to, feel rested and refreshed. Recurrent sleep deprivation over time results in sleep debt. And if this debt isn’t paid, the cost to one’s health is ginormous.

It’s particularly bothersome because people are now sleeping less. U.S. national surveys have people, reporting 1.5 to 2 hours less sleep over the past 50 years.

How much sleep is needed for good health? Typically, seven to nine hours of sleep seems to be the magic number. Short sleepers (those who sleep less than 7 hours a day) have a higher risk of death, diabetes, heart disease and , stroke. Unfortunately, long sleepers (those who sleep more than 9 hours a day) are also not spared from the higher rates of stroke and death.

Why is sleep debt so awful? For one, when you lose sleep, you gain weight! It’s a seemingly ridiculous concept which more and more studies are proving to be true. Apparently, two appetite-controlling hormones are affected by sleep duration. With sleep loss, levels of the hunger-inducing hormone, ghrelin, climb; while levels of the satiety hormone, leptin, drop. This hormone imbalance is seen in chronic insomniacs leading to increased appetite during the day and weight gain over time.

Can reduced slumber also raise blood sugar? Yes. Shut-eye shortage also leads to a rise in sugar-raising and fat-accumulating stress hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone. Sleep deprivation can also activate the sympathetic nervous system which can inhibit insulin release.

Sleeping at the wrong time can also be detrimental. People who work the night shift could experience shift work sleep disorder with symptoms such as insomnia, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headaches and lack of energy. Working the graveyard shift can also make one a few steps closer to the grave – as it ups the risk for ulcers, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep disorders are common in people with diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) and nerve damage can all disturb a diabetes patient’s slumber with potentially nightmarish results.

So learn more about these sleep stealers, how to arrest them and repay sleep debt in full. May you be lulled to a good night’s rest night after night after night! Zzzzzzzz…

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