We all live busy lives and at times we get to the point where we forget just how important sleep is to keep us properly alert and productive during the day. Without a good seven to nine hours of sleep each night, not only is our productivity compromised, but so is our health. By being aware of these health issues, you can change your sleeping habits now to improve your health for tomorrow.

genetic predisposition to obesity

Focus and Attention Span

An overtime lack of sleep can lead to the inability to focus clearly on daily tasks. Not only will you be less productive but lack of sleep could potential lead to accidents involving vehicles or other work-related accidents. Not only will you less likely be able to properly concentrate on the task at hand but you will not be able to problem solve or think as rationally as you would have been able to otherwise.

The inability to focus because of lack of sleep is very common for new parents. Caffeine may be your number one choice to help you stay awake, but try to avoid too much of it in the afternoon. Especially if you breastfeed, try to drink a glass of cold water or take naps throughout the day instead to stay fully alert.

Depression

Sleep is necessary for us to refresh and rejuvenate throughout the day. If you are suffering from insomnia then you could experience depression as well. According to WebMD, from a study in 2007, 10,000 people who suffered insomnia were five times as likely to experience depression as well.

Weight Gain and Disease

Those who sleep less tend to have greater appetites because low levels of leptin and ghrelin in the brain stimulate the feeling of being hungry. A greater appetite caused by lack of sleep could further lead to cardiovascular disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

For those with type 2 diabetes, a 2011 research at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University found that levels were higher for glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance when patients did not sleep well at night. Those with type 2 diabetes who suffered from extreme cases of insomnia had increased levels as high as 23% for glucose, 48% for insulin, and 82% for insulin resistance.

Cancer

Research has found that improper sleep at night can lead to cancer such as breast and colon. According to Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, if a middle age woman slept for less than six hours at night, she had a 62% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who slept for longer periods of time. According to Case Western University during a colon cancer research case, those who did not sleep at least seven hours at night had a 47% higher chance of developing colorectal polyps which could lead to the disease.

Despite the chances to develop any of these diseases or lose your focus during the day, you should always try to get a good night’s sleep between seven to nine hours. There are different ways to get your sleep back on track by focusing on relaxation techniques, upgrading your bed for maximum comfort by going to a mattress sale, or trying to have better eating habits during the day and before bedtime. If your inability to sleep well continues at night, be sure to visit a specialist at a clinic who can give you further advice.

Marianne Ross is a health blogger who is interested in learning about different relaxation techniques to avoid stress and health issues.

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