Whether you stay up late binge-watching your favorite show or find that you’re kept awake thinking about your day-to-day stresses, everyone finds themselves getting a few nights of less-than-restful sleep from time to time. And while you may find yourself feeling fatigued or foggy the following day, that may be the least of your worries over time.
A new study reveals that getting a specific amount of sleep at night can increase your diabetes risk by nearly 60 percent, as well. Read on to discover which amount of sleep could be causing serious harm to your health.
Sleeping under five hours per night increases your diabetes risk
While practically everyone has a night or two in their life when they find themselves clocking under five hours of sleep, doing this consistently could cause your risk of diabetes to skyrocket.
An Oct. 2021 study published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep reviewed data collected by the U.K. Biobank from 84,404 adults with an average age of 62.4.
What researchers discovered is that, compared to individuals who regularly slept for between seven and eight hours a night, those who routinely slept for under five hours per night had a 58 percent higher risk of developing diabetes in the following five to seven years.
“Sleep deprivation can cause an elevation in ghrelin level, which promotes hunger and weight gain. This in turn increases the risk of diabetes and other metabolic syndromes,” the study’s authors explain.
Insufficient sleep can have a profound effect on your mental health
You might know that insufficient sleep can have an effect on your mood throughout the day, but you may not realize how significantly sleep deprivation can affect your mental health over time.
In the same Nature and Science of Sleep study, researchers found that the risk of mental disorders increased by 106 percent and the risk of mood disorders increased by 44 percent among individuals who habitually slept for under five hours a night compared with those who typically slept between seven and eight hours per night.
Sleeping too much may also affect your mental health
It’s not just getting insufficient sleep that can have a major effect on your mental wellbeing, however. The study’s researchers observed a “U-shaped” curve in terms of sleep duration, noting that sleeping for long periods each night was also associated with mental health issues.
“Those with longer sleep durations (>8 hours/night) are 116 percent, 461 percent, and 55 percent more likely to have an organic mental disorder, schizophrenia/schizotypal/delusional disorders, and mood disorders, respectively, when compared to those who sleep 7–8 hours/night,” the study’s authors explained.
It may play a role in your heart disease, risk, too
Heart disease is the number one cause of death, both in the U.S. and globally, and your risk of developing the condition may be more associated with your sleep duration than you think.
The Nature and Science of Sleep study found that short duration and fragmented sleep were associated with significant increases in heart disease risk.
“Those who sleep <5 hours/night are 36 percent, 25 percent, 33 percent, 27 percent, 37 percent, and 36 percent more likely to have hypertensive diseases, ischaemic heart diseases, pulmonary heart diseases, cerebrovascular heart diseases, other forms of heart diseases, and diseases of arteries, arterioles and capillaries, respectively.”
A separate study published in the journal Sleep found that, among 10,308 adults between ages 35 and 55, sleep disturbance was significantly associated with cardiovascular disease risk, as well. So, if you want to live a longer, healthier life, a little more sleep might just be the first step.