Latest News » 3 more health risks posed by sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep can fuel symptoms of depression.

Earlier this week, we shared with you just a few of the many dangers associated with sleep deprivation. While pulling all-nighters may be common practice either when studying or going out with friends, consistently missing out on seven to eight hours of sleep can cause some serious harm to brain health. The body needs that much rest on a daily basis in order to replenish itself from the day and gear up for the next morning, and not giving yourself that seven or eight hours can backfire in a big way.

Here are just a few more complications that can arise from not getting enough sleep:

  • Depression: A Sleep in America poll conducted in 2005 found that people diagnosed with anxiety or depression were also prone to sleeping less than six hours on a nightly basis. Another study in 2007 determined that insomniacs were also five times as likely to develop depression. Lack of sleep and depression go hand-in-hand with one another, with sleep disorders fueling depressive symptoms, which in turn make it harder to rest at night.
  • Forgetfulness: Chronic sleep loss can impair memory support and the brain's ability to recall information. A joint American-French research team found that "sharp wave ripples" in the brain — which are responsible for linking the hippocampus to long-term memory storage — predominantly occur during deep sleep.
  • Weight gain: "Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite," Dr. Allison Siebern, a sleep specialist, told WebMD. "Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin." In other words, getting less sleep means feeling more hungry — which leads to cravings for unhealthy, high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods.

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