When you do not sleep enough, the negative effects stretch far beyond grumpiness during the day. Lack of sleep can have serious long-term consequences, including obesity and heart disease.
“Studies have shown that people with short sleep times (generally less than six hours a day) are more likely to become obese than those who sleep more,” says W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM, pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Sleep loss may stimulate receptors in your brain to crave high-fat foods.”
Researchers also have discovered that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – all factors associated with heart disease – are linked to lack of sleep. In some cases, people who sleep little also have a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, which can have serious long-term consequences. “It is in your best interest to get a good night’s sleep,” says Graham.
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