Studies have found that after several nights of sleep disruption another chemical began to rise. Called tau, it is known to cause tangles in the brain and is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The scientists showed that poor sleep is associated with higher levels of two Alzheimer’s-associated proteins and think that perhaps chronic poor sleep during middle age may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Amongst a number of other lifestyle factors, another study found that adults aged 45 years or older who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in their lifetime, as compared with those sleeping seven or eight hours a night.
Sleep deprived individuals are also more susceptible to weight gain. Among the reasons for this is the fact that inadequate sleep decreases levels of the satiety-signalling hormone, leptin, and increases levels of the hunger-signalling hormone, ghrelin. An individual then consumes more unhealthy foods.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to increased instances of Alzheimer’s, obesity, stroke, and diabetes. Lack of sleep changes how insulin operates in your body and how quickly your cells absorb sugar. After a week of short sleep nights (say, five or six hours), your doctor could diagnose you with pre-diabetes, meaning your blood sugar levels are elevated enough that you’re on track to become a diabetic. Long-term damage to your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys could already be in motion in such circumstances and actions to reverse this trend need to be taken. Read here.