3 Deadly Diseases That Are Linked to Poor Sleep

If you spend countless late nights working when you should be sleeping, your body has already begun reaping the negative effects. Not only are you probably having trouble concentrating, you might find it hard to stay awake throughout the entire day. There’s no doubt that if you’ve been skimping on sleep, you’ve also been too tired to hit the gym. Your co-workers and spouse may find you irritable and fussy to be around. You might even be dozing off at the wheel risking the lives of all of those around you. When you skip sleep, your body instantly feels the effect. In fact, a recent study shows that just one night of short sleep can raise inflammatory chemicals in the blood.[1] Just one night! But poor sleep can do more than just make you sluggish during the day, it can actually take years off of your life. A lack of sleep has been linked to several deadly diseases. Research says the key lies in your sleep duration, the amount of hours that you sleep each night.[2] Those that sleep less than six hours each night are at a greater risk for deadly diseases. Here’s what you need to know.

Heart Disease

If you’re sleeping less than six hours per night, you could be setting yourself up for coronary heart disease.[3] A lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure which can be a warning sign for an impending heart attack or stroke.[4] A study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology shows that people who got enough sleep each night (and ate right and exercised) had a 67 percent lower chance of having heart disease compared to their peers who didn’t undertake healthy habits like getting enough sleep.[5] That’s a huge number when it comes to your health.


If you’re not clocking enough bedtime hours, you can feel tired during the day and tend to reach for unhealthy, sugary choices to give you energy. Prolonged lack of sleep or sleeping too much can cause your blood sugar to get out of control which can lead to diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, if you sleep less than 6.5 hours per night or more than 7.4 hours, your blood glucose levels can be elevated.[6] This is based on a Japanese study that set out to determine if sleep duration (whether short or long) could play a role in the development of diabetes.[7] Diabetes is deadly when not controlled and can have harmful long-term effects like heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

Alzheimer’s and Cancer

Studies are currently underway to see if sleep may be a possible cause for Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancers, like uterine or breast cancer. Researchers do know that Alzheimer’s disease can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles but scientists are trying to determine if it works both ways.[8] According to the National Sleep Foundation, scientists are also studying the correlation between shift workers who work odd hours and certain types of cancer like uterine or breast cancer.[9]

It’s imperative for your health to make sleep a priority. Though it may seem like an easy option to cut out if you’re looking to save a little time in the day, ultimately the risks to your health outweigh any benefits received from getting fewer hours of shut-eye.

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