Sleep is one of the first things to suffer when there’s a paucity of time. It doesn’t matter whether you are a working professional, a home maker, or a business owner—if you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s going to affect your mental and physical health. Eventually, it will distress your daily performance at work, your safety, even your finances.

The American Sleep Disorders Association recognizes more than 85 sleep disorders, which affect more than 70 million Americans. One in every three Americans has symptoms of insomnia; however, less than 10 percent of the cases are identified or treated by primary-care doctors. If that’s not all, a study has also found that reduced sleep time is a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease. A couple of hours of sleep may hardly be enough to keep you healthy. In the first of the two-part series, find out the ill-effects of sleep deprivation.

How It Affects Your Diet
Chronic sleep loss can disrupt blood sugar levels, causing the body to produce less leptin, a hormone that curbs appetite, and more ghrelin, leptin’s hunger-stimulating counterpart. That means you are more likely to overeat, and you’re also going to be making bad food choices—reaching out for simple carbs and sugars.

How It Affects The Body
Sleeplessness could lead to a weaker immune system. Studies show that people who sleep less are more prone to osteoporosis and an inability to repair bone damage. They have a 48 percent higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease. Less sleep could also cause higher blood pressure, could lower the body temperature, and could cause changes in the rate of your heart beat.

How It Affects The Mind
A brain imaging study showed that sleep-deprived volunteers displayed 60 percent more activity in the amygdala, which is involved in processing fear and anxiety. Chronic sleep deprivation, if unchecked, could even lead to severe depression. Add to that impaired reflexes, inability to concentrate, a lack of focus, memory loss and impaired cognitive functions, plus compromised balance and depth perception—a recipe for disaster.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep naturally, or are staying up deliberately, it’s time to reset your body clock and ensure you get adequate rest. The consequences of not sleeping enough are too damaging to risk such behavior. In the second part, discover the natural ways of coping with sleeplessness.

Read More:
Science Says: Healthy Sleeping Patterns Can Protect You Against Diseases
Could Your Smartphone Be Keeping You Awake At Night?