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[September 2017] Sleep Deprivation and Its Health Effects
Date 09-12-2017 14:09 Hit176
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Sleep Deprivation and Its Health Effects

 
Sleeping well is crucial to our health. Sleep enables our bodies to recover, preserves energy, and secretes essential hormones. It also enables our brains to retain memories. Thus, sleep deprivation can have fatal effects on both our bodies and minds. It can lead to changes in personality traits, depression, memory loss, absentmindedness, and an overall decline in the function of the nervous system. It can also delay or prevent the delivery of oxygen to all the parts of our muscles and organs, resulting in the decline of kinetic abilities and the numbing of the senses. When exposed to sleep deprivation for extended periods of time, the human body begins to secrete excess cortisol in response to the extreme stress that it experiences. Prolonged secretion of cortisol can raise blood pressure and damage muscular and dermatological tissues, thereby accelerating the aging process. Numerous studies worldwide have also warned that sleep deprivation can result in the following critical conditions:




○ Increased risks of cardiovascular diseases

A team of medical researchers at the University of Chicago revealed that getting less than 6 hr of sleep at night can significantly increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases. People who sleep less than 6 hr per night are twice more likely to suffer from myocardial infarctions or heart attacks than people who sleep between 6 and 8 hr per night. They are also 1.6 times more likely to suffer from congestive heart failures.

○ Hypertension

Cardiologists at Yonsei University’s Wonju College of Medicine demonstrated the connection between sleep deprivation and hypertension. They found that 15.2% of adults who were chronically sleep deprived (i.e., getting less than 6 hr of sleep a day, including naps) developed hypertension. This percentage is almost two times higher than the incidence rate of hypertension among adults getting 6 to 8 hr of sleep per day.





○ Chronic and lifestyle diseases

A team of researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States analyzed the medical records of 54,000 Americans and found significant links between sleeping less than 6 hr at night and higher incidence rates of chronic and lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.

○ Skin aging

Researchers at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center compared and analyzed how the amount of sleep affects the human skin. These researchers found that people getting insufficient sleep every night scored higher on the Skin Aging Index than people getting enough sleep. The former showed more fine wrinkles, more dark spots and blemishes, greater loss of skin firmness, and other signs of aging than the latter.



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