What happen if we don't sleep enough?

The quality of sleep is important if we want to have a quality of life during the day.

Not getting enough sleep can lower our sex drive, weaken our immune system, cause thinking issues, and lead to weight gain.

When you don't get enough sleep, you may also increase our risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and even car accidents.

Losing sleep can also impair our body's ability to fight off illness. This makes it easier to get sick. Indeed Researchers uncovered a reciprocal relationship between sleep and our immune system.

Both short sleep durations (less than 5 hours per night) and long sleep durations (9 or more hours per night) have been shown to have a negative impact on heart health, according to an analysis published in the European Heart Journal.

In particular, our chances of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke are greatly increased with less sleep.
Shortened sleep is associated with higher rates of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer, according to the AASM's sleep statement.

Overnight shift workers may take the brunt of this burden.

Even missing one night of sleep can lead to some major cognition (thinking) issues.

In a study published by Experimental Brain Research, a group of 18 men were given a task to complete. The first task was completed following a full night's sleep. The next task was completed after skipping a night of sleep.

Brain functions including memory, decision-making, reasoning, and problem-solving worsened, along with reaction time and alertness.
There's a growing body of research indicating that sleep has an impact on learning and memory.

Researchers suggest that sleep is critical to the process of consolidating the things we learn in the brain. In other words, we need proper rest to lock in new information and commit it to memory.

Lack of sleep can also cause weight gain.

A study examined the relationship between sleep and weight in 21,469 adults over the age of 20. The people who slept less than 5 hours each night over the course of the three-year study were more likely to gain weight and eventually become obese.

Along with a bigger waistline, people who don't get enough sleep (or who get too much) increase their risk of developing adult-onset diabetes.

Researchers examined 10 separate studies focused on sleep and diabetes. Their findings uncovered that 7 to 8 hours of rest is the optimal range to avoid insulin issues that could lead to diabetes.

The Liver
Our liver is an extremely important organ, sometimes known as our body's 'factory' as it performs over 500 functions, including detoxifying harmful substances, breaking down fat, storing glycogen and metabolic hormones. It's extremely important to try and nurture this organ, especially if you want to look after your sleep patterns! Serious liver problems such as cirrhosis and fatty liver disease are often linked to disrupted sleep and insomnia.

Once the hormones circulating in your system have accomplished their task, whether it be triggering a stress reaction or getting you ready for ovulation, they report to your liver, where they are broken down and deactivated – this prevents a hormonal imbalance from occurring.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is usually secreted just before you wake up in the morning so you feel refreshed and energized for the day ahead. Melatonin, on the other hand, is produced as natural light fades, helping you to feel relaxed and sleepy in preparation for bedtime.

Your liver can influence these hormones in few ways. Firstly, if you're prone to stress or anxiety, it may mean that your blood levels of cortisol become elevated, thereby increasing your liver's workload when it comes to deactivating this particular hormone. In cases of chronic stress, your liver may become overwhelmed, meaning that excess cortisol may remain in your system for longer – not ideal for your melatonin levels or your sleep patterns.

Glycogen is produced in your liver using leftover glucose (sugar) and is stored as an energy source that can be used by your body. For example, when your blood glucose levels start to fall, your liver can break glycogen down to release glucose into the bloodstream to help give your body some fuel.

Under normal circumstances, this system works well, however problems can arise. Stress can really take a toll on your liver because it depletes your liver's stores of glycogen, which is used to produce stress hormones like adrenaline. Eventually, your liver will become fatigued from producing more and more glycogen, which will cause your blood sugar levels to become very high, upsetting your sleep patterns.

You also have to consider too, that when your blood glucose levels are high, your body will be secreting more insulin. Unfortunately, when your insulin levels are high, it can cause your liver to produce more fat and cholesterol, which can place you at risk of developing non-fatty liver disease or NFLD.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-lose-sleep#heart-health
[2] https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/sleep/how-does-your-liver-affect-your-sleep/

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