How your sleep habits can lead to a longer life (Part 2)

Written by Alex Reid
Posted November 21, 2019

Dear Reader,

In Part 1, we talked about how the sleep cycle works. We also touched on some of the many reasons getting enough sleep is vital to living a long and healthy life. 

But what does the research really say?

Can sleep deprivation really cause serious health effects?

We’re going to dig into the research and answer these questions.

Here are four science-backed ways sleep affects your health. 

1. Sleep habits affect insulin resistance and diabetes risk. Insulin resistance and diabetes are a massive problem today. Most often, they are associated with consuming foods that are heavily processed, high in carbs, and high in sugar.

But sleep may be a much bigger variable than many people are aware.

In fact, men who get six hours of sleep or less are twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who sleep for seven hours.

And get this: Men who sleep for more than eight hours are three times more likely to develop diabetes than those who sleep for seven hours. 

Both too much and too little sleep is not good for insulin levels.

2. Good sleep reduces cardiovascular health risks. There are many things that affect the heart. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high glucose, and stress are some of the health factors that put you at the highest risk. 

Did you know that sleep affects every one of these? 

Research shows that:

  • Five or fewer hours of sleep significantly increases blood pressure
  • Too much and too little sleep negatively affects lipid levels
  • Less than six or more than nine hours of sleep increases glucose intolerance
  • Sleep deprivation contributes to stress and tension in the body

A full seven hours of sleep may help you avoid these health issues.

3. Healthy sleep habits protect against weight gain. The increase in obese children and adults in the U.S. is a public health crisis. Being overweight contributes to countless chronic diseases. Although diet plays a large role in obesity, research suggests that sleep may also be a huge factor. 

Sleeping less than seven hours each night is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) and a higher risk of obesity. Less than five and a half hours of sleep is linked to burning 55% less fat and losing 60% more fat-free mass, such as bone and muscle.

So not only does sleep deprivation contribute to obesity, but it can also reduce your strength and make your bones more fragile.

Sleep loss can also cause increased hunger. One study shows that appetite control hormones are boosted significantly by sleep deprivation.

Getting the right amount of sleep may promote a healthy weight.

4. Better sleep can boost the immune system. If you find yourself getting sick often, it could be because of sleep deprivation. Getting less than seven hours of sleep can weaken the immune system and make your body vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. 

A full night’s sleep has the exact opposite effect — your body has an increased ability to fight off infection and naturally reduce inflammation.

These are only some of the many ways sleep can affect your health. In the final part of this series, we’re going to talk about even more ways sleep deprivation can be disastrous for your health. We’re also going to give you some quick tips on how you can get better sleep. See you next week for Part 3.

To your health,

Alex Reid
President, Clear Health Now

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