We can’t stress enough the importance of sleep. It is the only time when our body as a whole gets to recharge. Unfortunately, all sorts of sleep problems, from insomnia to sleep apnea, are on the rise, preventing us from getting the quality good night’s sleep we need.
Poor sleep can affect the body in numerous ways, causing high blood pressure, low moods, and even weight gain. As you can see, sleep is an integral part of maintaining good health, so if you aren’t sleeping you’re making yourself sick.
There is one more reason to be concerned about your poor sleep – and it should prompt you to address your night troubles right away. Researchers found that lack of sleep is associated with inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
A recent meta-analysis study found that the long-term effects of disrupted sleep can contribute to inflammatory diseases like arthritis, periodontitis, and even cancer. The researchers reviewed scientific literature on the link between poor sleep and inflammation. The analysis covered 72 reports involving over 50,000 participants. The researchers found that too little or too much sleep increased inflammation.
Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, said, “It is important to highlight that both too much and too little sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to depression as well as many medical illnesses.”
Getting less than seven hours of sleep or more than eight hours results in increased inflammation, which is manifested in elevated levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin (IL-6), both biomarkers for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The findings aren’t new, though. In fact, they mirror the results of the previous studies that also examined the association between sleep and inflammation. If anything, the new research reaffirms the importance of sleep quality and further emphasizes the value of sleep for our overall health.
So if you want to lower your risk of health complications – like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, mood changes, or heart disease – working on your shut-eye at night is imperative. If you are experiencing sleeping problems, speak to your doctor about going for a sleep test to detect any issue that may be disrupting your sleep. If the source of your night troubles is psychological, talk with a psychiatrist to overcome your anxieties.