Doctors Warn Sleep Deprivation Linked to Serious Health Issues

When it comes to strategies for achieving and maintaining overall good health, one factor that’s often overlooked is the importance of sleep. And, as reported by Steamboat Today, you’re making a big mistake if you don’t pay attention to both quantity and quality when it comes to sleeping, as some of the newest studies are connecting sleep disruption to the buildup of a beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer’s. Just as disturbing is research showing that sleep deprivation reduces anticancer-fighting cells in your body by 70 percent.

The study of sleep has become a true science, with researchers warning that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. In other words, according to more than 20 large-scale epidemiological studies, sleeplessness has been shown to have a devastating effect on your health and well-being, contributing to chronic illnesses such as dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

This means that while losing an hour or two of sleep may not seem like a big deal, the data suggest that even a single night of poor sleep can have devastating consequences. Besides feeling tired, some of the signs of sleep deprivation include feeling hungry all the time, weight gain, memory failure, slow reaction time and constantly getting sick.

Nodding off during the day is another symptom of sleep deprivation that can be especially devastating, as missing just one or two hours of sleep can nearly double your risk of a car accident the following day.

There are a number of strategies that can help you improve your sleep, from taking a warm bath or shower a couple hours before bedtime to skipping alcohol and sleeping in a totally darkened room. But I would add that perhaps the most important natural "trick" of all for improving your sleep is to make sure you're getting proper exposure to bright light during the day and no exposure to blue light at night. In the morning, bright, blue light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it's time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it's time to sleep.
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