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The Effects of Sleep Disorders on Health

Autor:   •  October 30, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,291 Words (10 Pages)  •  763 Views

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The condition of not having enough sleep is called sleep deprivation, feeling tired and fatigued can certainly make you feel grumpy and irritable as well as affecting performance by reducing your ability to think and use the brain effectively, but are there any long term health problems with not getting enough sleep? Previous research on rats found that after a week of total deprivation, rats showed progressive weight loss despite an increased food intake (Rechtschaffen et al, 1989) and after four weeks of total deprivation of sleep all rats had died. Humans however are different and this literature review is going to explore the effects of sleep deprivation on the health of humans.

Lack of sleep on a regular basis can be associated with long term health consequences such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease which in turn can lead to a shorter life expectancy, although it should be added that poor health can also be attributed to habitually sleeping more than nine hours a night. There are three main types of studies that are used to help us understand how different sleeping habits may or may not have a direct consequence on health.

Sleep deprivation studies are used by researchers to examine physiological changes that could trigger a disease, these studies involve using research volunteers and depriving them of sleep. Studies in this field have revealed that sleep deprivation can lead to stress and associated illnesses like high blood pressure, increased inflammation and impaired control of blood glucose. A study by Franzen et al. (2011) on healthy young adults looked at the effects of sleep deprivation on stress and blood pressure and found that systolic blood pressure was higher whilst performing a speech task after the participants were deprived of sleep than when they had had a normal sleep.

Previous studies on people who regularly sleep less than six hours a night Sánchez (2011), have shown that they are more prone to having a higher than average body mass index (BMI) in comparison to those who sleep an average of eight hours a night. The amount of sleep you get has been shown as a major risk factor on obesity behind the more common reasons of lack of exercise and over-eating.

Cross-sectional epidemiological studies are carried out typically by a questionnaire and can target large populations for quantitative research, this type of study has linked reduced and increased sleep patterns to illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Van den Berg et al (1998) conducted a study that found that sleepers who slept habitually for less than 5hrs or more than 8hrs per night reported a marked increase in BMI which is associated with diabetes and heart disease. Limitations of this study however is that it was one sided and did not look at the possibility that it could have be the effect of the disease that hinders sleep rather than the sleep habit being the trigger for the disease, it was also

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