From an article on

If you haven’t learned yet through personal experience, not getting enough sleep can be one of the most detrimental things to a person’s overall well-being. In fact, various different studies have discovered that prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can have devastating health consequences.

Here are five diseases and chronic conditions that have been linked to a lack of sleep:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a condition that is largely caused by the buildup of unhealthy plaques in one’s brain tissue. A 2013 Johns Hopkins University study found that lack of sleep is not only a potential cause of Alzheimer’s, but a catalyst in the disease’s progression, meaning it speeds up the process.

The study centered around previous research that found that the human brain cleans itself of “cerebral waste” and unhealthy buildups during the sleep cycle.

Obesity / Diabetes

A study out of the University of Chicago has found that lack of sleep is linked to obesity, and eventually causes diabetes. Much of this research focuses on the fact that fatty acid levels in the blood influences metabolism speed and one’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

When looking at the sleep patterns of 19 men, researchers discovered a 15 to 30 percent increase in fatty acid levels of men who only achieved about 4 hours of sleep over the course of three nights.

Additionally, they found that high fatty acid levels increased insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

One recent study that was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, discovered a strong link between lack of sleep and heart disease. The study, which followed 657 Russian men, between the ages of 25 and 64, for 14 years, found that two-thirds of the men who suffered from a heart attack also reported having a sleep disorder.Interestingly enough, the men with sleep disorders were also about 1.5 to 4 times more likely to suffer from stroke.


A 10-year study out of Stanford University of Medicine found a correlation between increased rates of suicide and poor sleep patterns when controlling for past history of depression.

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