Last week we looked at sleep as important for the production of the hormone leptin which suppresses appetite and promotes burning rather than storage of fat. Weight gain is only one of many heath problems caused by inadequate sleep. Here are a few more:
• Fatigue, inability to concentrate, and irritability
• Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
• Increased risk of high blood pressure
• Weakened immune system – more susceptible to colds and flu
• More rapid tumor growth – sleep is critical if you are fighting cancer
• Digestive problems like stomach ulcers and constipation
• Depression and other mood disorders
• Increased cortisol production which can lead to memory loss and insulin resistance
• Lower production of melatonin which, besides regulating sleep, is an important antioxidant
• Reduced production of Growth Hormone (by the pituitary gland during sleep) which causes more rapid aging. You not only feel older – you are older!
The Canadian Sleep Society reports 1 out of 3 Canadian adults have some problem sleeping, and for 1 out of 10 it is serious enough to affect their health. Loss of sleep is cumulative and cannot be made up by sleeping in on the weekend; it’s important to get adequate sleep every night. For growing children and teens, sleep is even more important. Next week we’ll look at some natural ways to promote healthy sleep.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.