Sleep Deprivation and Disease: How Do They Interact?

It is common knowledge that getting enough sleep is important. The CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 18-60 get at least 7 hours of sleep per night to maintain health and well-being.

It’s not true for everyone. Some people get just two hours of sleep, which can be annoying at best, but can also exacerbate health issues, and even exacerbate symptoms of underlying conditions.

You need to understand how poor sleep could affect a chronic condition or health issue if you want to take steps toward better sleep.

Here are some ways to improve your sleep, and how you can enhance it to prevent various diseases.

Sleep Habits and Disease Risks

There are many reasons why poor sleep habits can increase your risk of contracting certain illnesses, but one of the biggest is that they weaken your immune system, which makes you more likely to contract diseases like the common cold and parasitic ones. In addition, there have been several studies that link insufficient sleep with:

  • Overeating
  • Diabetics
  • Diseases related to the heart
  • Asthma
  • Disorders of the mood
  • Despite thinking you can get by with just a few hours of sleep each night, it is likely to catch up to you eventually. You may even experience mental health decline as a result of sleep deprivation. If you don’t get the sleep you need, your chances of developing anxiety or depression will increase.

    Genetic Disorders

    The genetics play a bigger role than you anticipate when it comes to health, no matter how healthy you are. A wide variety of multifactorial genetic inheritance disorders include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, some of which are more prevalent than others.

    A lot of these conditions can be aggravated by poor sleep, as we have discussed above. Varicose veins are another genetic condition that might not be life-threatening but can cause discomfort and pain. Varicose veins can often affect your sleep quality and make it difficult for you to get comfortable, just as obesity, diabetes, and so on do.

    Getting the sleep you need to “heal” can become a difficult process if you are not able to get it. Sleep habits that work for you are crucial – we’ll discuss how to establish them later – the less sleep you’re getting, the worse your symptoms are.

    Poor Skin Health

    Sleep deprivation has an effect on your body as well as your appearance. If you’ve ever played sports or done physical training, you know that your muscles are repaired during sleep.

    Your skin does the same.

    You restore most of your skin while you sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re cutting into that time, which can negatively affect skin cell regeneration. Due to your lack of sleep, you may begin to see more fine lines, sagging skin, and fewer collagens in your skin. You may not notice the “glow” or elasticity on your skin as you would if you slept for at least seven hours.

    Getting enough sleep should be built into your daily or nightly skincare routine. Beauty sleep might sound like just an old cliche, but it is absolutely necessary.

    Digestive Issues

    The American Gastroenterological Association reports 60-70 million Americans suffer from gastrointestinal diseases that can severely impact their lives. Some of the most common include:

  • Intestinal
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colic due to infectious disease
  • Colitis caused by ischemia
  • Stress is also responsible for many of the symptoms associated with GERD. It causes heartburn, pain in the upper abdomen, and regurgitation.

    Sleep deprivation can cause bloating, inflammation, and even changes in the health of your gut.

    In some cases, stomach disorders can only be treated by medical treatment, while others can often be managed by making lifestyle changes – such as getting more sleep – and managing them effectively. By choosing the right sleeping position (with your head elevated), you might be able to reduce GERD’s symptoms. The more sleep you get, the lower your stress levels, which could improve your gut health and reduce regurgitation and bloating.

    How to Improve Your Sleep

    What can you do to ensure that you’re getting the rest you need in light of how sleep can put you at risk for developing certain conditions and exacerbating existing ones?

    Ensure that you go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Your body’s natural circadian rhythms will adjust, and you might find that you sleep more soundly after that.

    You need to ensure that your bedroom is free of clutter, cool, and used only for sleeping. Staying in bed for more than 30 minutes trying to force yourself to sleep will not help. Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. Find something that will help you relax while not focusing on the need to sleep. Read a book, meditate, or write in a journal. Get back to bed when you feel tired.

    Before you go to bed, do not use any electronic devices. Especially smartphones can be a bit stimulating and make it hard to slow down your mind. They emit a special “blue light” that makes it hard to fall asleep. Try to find other ways to relax before trying to sleep. Those devices will always be around in the morning.

    Lastly, practice self-care. Sleep is just one aspect of a healthy mind and body. Staying physically active, managing stress, and eating a healthy diet are just as important. Some conditions, such as diabetes, can actually cause insomnia. If you care for yourself and manage those conditions, you might be able to improve your sleep health and break the cycle of bad sleep.

    No matter what health condition you have or how you hope to prevent getting sick, sleep plays an important role in your overall wellbeing. Learn how it impacts you and make sure you get enough sleep regularly.