Can Sleep Deprivation Shorten Your Life?

sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation seems to be an inevitable side effect of modern life for most of us, but did you ever stop to think that it could actually shorten your lifespan?

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, regularly getting less than eight hours of sleep per night is linked to an increased risk of developing all kinds of medical conditions, including:

  • Obesity: Studies show that people routinely getting less than six hours of sleep per night are much more likely to be overweight while those who sleep eight hours per night typically carry the lowest body fat percentage.
  • Diabetes: People who regularly sleep less than five hours per night are subject to substantially higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Getting better sleep has even been shown to help balance out blood sugar.
  • Cardiovascular Disease & Hypertension: Even losing only about an hour of sleep per night (six to seven hours) has been linked to a higher risk of heart attack and death due to heart disease.
  • Immune Function: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine compared white blood cell counts between young men who slept eight hours per night and those who got less. The group who got less showed a spike in white blood cell production, signaling that their immune systems were responding to threats. This type of immune response is very similar to that brought on by undue stress.
  • Common Cold: Studies have even suggested that people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night are about three times as likely to develop cold symptoms than their counterparts who get more than seven hours of sleep (when both groups were exposed to cold-causing rhinovirus).

Along with all the above maladies, Harvard points out that each of these potential threats equates with higher long-term healthcare costs. “More importantly,” they claim, “insufficient sleep can ultimately affect life expectancy…An analysis of data from three separate studies suggests that sleeping five or fewer hours per night may increase mortality risk by as much as 15 percent.”

Is Sleep Medication the Answer?

Think again. Women and men who take sleep medications both respectively demonstrate a 39% and 31% increase in mortality risk over their counterparts who don’t take medications to sleep.

So if sleeping pills aren’t the answer, then what does all this mean? And is it really worth taking action to make sure you’re never again sleep deprived? Truth be told, it depends on how often you’re missing out on sleep. After all, feeling overtired at work from time to time is an inevitable part of life, and it isn’t likely to take a significant toll on your long-term health (at least not a toll that’s measurable).

Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind what missing out on sleep routinely can do to both your physical and mental health. It also helps paint a clearer picture of just how valuable a good night’s sleep is in the bigger scheme of things, which brings us back to why investing in a luxury mattress is more than just buying another piece of furniture. It’s an investment in your long-term health; start with our farm-to-bedroom design.

A Guide to Better Sleep: Is A Luxury Bed Right For You?

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