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Lack of Sleep and Chronic Disease Are a Risky Combo

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

sleep deprivation and chronic disease

Story at-a-glance -

  • Without proper sleep — both in terms of time and quality — your health will be adversely impacted, leaving you open to chronic illness of all kinds, including diabetes, heart disease, neurodegeneration and cancer
  • Recent research shows short sleep duration increases the risk of death associated with cardiometabolic risk factors and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases
  • All-cause mortality among those who slept less than six hours and had cardiometabolic risk factors (high blood pressure, elevated glucose or Type 2 diabetes) was 2.14 times higher than those who regularly slept six hours or more
  • Among those with a diagnosis of heart disease or stroke, sleeping less than six hours a night increased their all-cause mortality risk by 3.17 times, and their risk of dying from cancer, specifically, by 2.92 times
  • Sleep quality is also important. Previous research has shown women with mild sleep disturbance (taking longer to fall asleep or waking up during the night) were far more likely to have high blood pressure than those who fell asleep quickly and slept soundly

While sleep is still a largely neglected area of health, research shows that without proper sleep — both in terms of time and quality — every aspect of your health will be adversely impacted. Many important things happen during sleep, and only during sleep.

For example, sleep is required for the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis in and the removal of toxic waste from your brain, as well as the maintenance of biological homeostasis in your body. Without proper sleep, you leave yourself wide-open to chronic illness of all kinds, including diabetes, heart disease, neurodegeneration and cancer.


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