Community Life - Cleburne, TX June/July 2020 - Page 46

Some surprising effects of insufficient sleep 46 Community Life Many people wish they could get more sleep. Whether they’re professionals facing the challenges of demanding careers or parents juggling the responsibilities of work and family, many men and women find it difficult to get a full night’s sleep. A restless night here or there likely is not much to worry about. However, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than one-third of adults in the United States were not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Routinely failing to get a good night’s rest can have a profound effect on a person’s overall well-being, including some surprising side effects. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insufficient sleep will not make a person sick any more than getting enough sleep will prevent illness. However, the NSF notes that failing to get enough sleep can adversely affect a person’s immune system. That makes people more susceptible to cold or flu. That vulnerability is linked cytokines, a type of protein made by the body that targets infection and inflammation. Cytokines are produced and released during sleep, so without enough sleep, a person won’t produce or release enough cytokines. That can throw off the immune system response, rendering it less effective when confronting colds and the flu. The NSF also notes that vaccines might not be as effective if people are not getting enough sleep. That’s because chronic sleep loss, which refers to prolonged periods of inadequate sleep as opposed to random nights in which shuteye proved elusive, reduces the body’s ability to respond to viruses like the flu. Even people who have been vaccinated against the flu need their immune systems to be operating at full strength to fight the flu. Without adequate sleep, the immune system cannot perform at peak capacity. A heightened risk for diabetes is another surprising side effect of prolonged periods of insufficient sleep. The online medical resource Healthline.com notes that lack of sleep affects the body’s release of insulin, a hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar levels. People who do not get enough sleep have high blood sugar levels, which increases their risk for type 2 diabetes. Busy adults often sacrifice sleep to meet the demands of everyday life. But such sacrifices can produce some surprising side effects that may make men and women reconsider their daily sleep routines.