Here's how lack of sleep actually affects your health

Jan. 5, 2018

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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