Here's how lack of sleep actually affects your health

Jan. 5, 2018


You probably already know that a night of tossing and turning makes you groggy the next day, or that pulling an all-nighter leaves you exhausted.

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But not getting enough sleep can actually have some pretty serious — and alarming — health effects.


Physical effects

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, ongoing sleep deficiency can increase your risk of heart and kidney disease and high blood pressure.


Even just a few nights in a row of losing sleep can make you less productive, slower to react and more prone to making mistakes.


Missing sleep might also make you crave junk food — at least according to a study published in the journal Sleep in 2016.

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The study found that people who slept around four hours a night ate more snacks like Doritos, Cheetos and ice cream than those who got closer to eight hours.

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Lack of sleep can even affect your sex drive — it’s been linked to erectile dysfunction and low libido in women.


So how much sleep should you be getting?

To stay healthy, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours a night. Any less than that and it may be time to speak to a doctor.