5 Experts Answer: Is Lack of Sleep Bad for Health?
Each week, MyHealthNewsDaily asks the experts to answer questions about your health.
This week, weِ asked internal medicine physicians andِ sleep experts: Is havingِ trouble sleeping — andِ the resulting lack ofِ sleep — bad forِ your health.
Here’s whatِ theyِ said.
Dr. William Kohler, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute:
Sleep isِ necessary forِ us toِ function atِ our best, andِ if weِ doِ not getِ adequate quantity andِ quality ofِ sleep, ourِ performance andِ our functioning isِ not goingِ to beِ satisfactory.
If weِ don’tِ get adequate sleep, ourِ mood isِ goingِ to beِ more depressed, we’reِ notِ goingِ to beِ asِ sharp cognitively, ourِ thinking isِ not goingِ to beِ asِ alert.
There areِ some fascinating studies thatِ they’ve doneِ with children whereِ theyِ follow children forِ a number ofِ years, andِ ones withِ short sleep times wereِ moreِ likelyِ to becomeِ obese thanِ children whoِ hadِ adequate sleep.
Sheila Tsai, sleep expert andِ assistant professor ofِ medicine atِ National Jewish Health inِ Colorado: The short answer isِ yes.
In thoseِ people whoِ doِ not getِ enoughِ sleep perِ night (generally lessِ than sixِ hours perِ night), thereِ isِ anِ increased risk ofِ cardiovascular disease andِ death versusِ people whoِ doِ get enoughِ sleep.
In people suffering fromِ insomnia, withِ problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep, anِ increased risk forِ major depression hasِ beenِ noted.
Madeleine Grigg-Damberger, associate medical director ofِ the University ofِ New Mexico Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory andِ director ofِ Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services atِ the University Hospital Sleep Disorders Center: Insufficient sleep, orِ short sleep, canِ contribute toِ weight gain.
But theِ amount ofِ sleep people needِ varies fromِ fourِ to 11 hours perِ day, thoughِ mostِ people needِ seven-and-a-half toِ eightِ hours ofِ sleep perِ night.
Older people haveِ more fragmented sleep perhapsِ becauseِ they nap a bit moreِ duringِ the day.
Kristen Gill Hairston, assistant professor ofِ endocrinology andِ metabolism atِ the Maya Angelou Center forِ Health Equity andِ Center forِ Diabetes Research atِ Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center inِ North Carolina: Extremes ofِ sleep — bothِ too muchِ andِ too littleِ — canِ beِ hazardous toِ your health, especiallyِ for young minority women, a group mostِ affected byِ obesity andِ chronic metabolic disease.
There’s moreِ to ‘fat’ thanِ what weِ choose toِ eat — gettingِ less thanِ sixِ hours orِ moreِ than eightِ hours ofِ sleep]could beِ causing dangerous fat deposition aroundِ vital organs.
Until theِ connection isِ understood, physicians shouldِ considerِ gathering information aboutِ sleep patterns justِ asِ they doِ other vital information whenِ seeingِ patients.
Johnson, director ofِ the Center forِ Primary Care atِ the University ofِ Rochester Medical Center: The consequences ofِ sleep deprivation areِ being increasingly recognized.
These problems range fromِ car crashes andِ workplace errors toِ immune dysfunction.
Many people suffer short bouts ofِ insomnia atِ some point inِ their lives, butِ insomnia canِ alsoِ be a symptom ofِ anِ underlying physical orِ psychological disorder.