The usefulness of sleep is pretty obvious: when you don’t get enough sleep, you feel tired. You’ have probably noticed symptoms of yawning, emotional stress, or difficulty focusing, but did you know that your sleeping habits can affect your physical health?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to worsen and aggravate chronic conditions. Here’s what you need to know:

If you’re battling Cancer:  

Sleep is crucial with cancer as it helps the body to fight it and helps to balance hormones which affect cancer cells. Read more here.

If you’re living with Type 2 Diabetes:  

Sleep can be tricky if your blood sugars are out of control because when your blood sugar is really high, your body will try to get rid of that excess sugar by urinating. It’s hard to get enough sleep when you’re constantly getting up to go to the bathroom, but it’s also super important if you want to get your blood sugars under control. Read more here.

If you’re living with Rheumatoid Arthritis:  

Insufficient sleep is known to cause stress levels to increase, which in individuals with RA has been shown to increase flares. Your body also produces important hormones in the process of sleep that help you feel good as well as repair tiny muscle tears throughout the day.  Read more here.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Hepatitis C: 

Difficulty sleeping may be caused by the stress of living with Hep C, but it also been shown to be more common in people with cirrhosis or liver failure. Studies show, however, that lack of sleep can actually worsen your condition. Stress on the body from not sleeping can affect vision and cloud memory. Read more here.

If you’re living with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD): 

Studies show that lack of sleep can worsen symptoms of IBD.  There is an association between the lack of sleep and the increase in the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Read more here.

If you’ve got an overactive bladder:  

It’s pretty obvious how overactive bladder interferes with your sleeping patterns – it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if you’re constantly getting up to go to the bathroom! More recently, an overactive bladder has also been linked to sleep apnea. Read more here

If you have asthma:

No sleep can make you irritable and decrease your ability to control your asthma symptoms during the day.  As your stress levels increase, the effectiveness and efficiency of your breathing may be negatively impacted. Read more here

If you’re living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF):

Recent studies show that individuals with IPF can also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Diagnosis and treatment of this sleep disorder may have a significant impact in improving outcomes for individuals with IPF. More generally, sleep has been known to significantly impact the quality of life with IPF. Read more here.

If you’re living with COPD:  

High levels of fatigue can come from a lack of sleep in COPD.  There is an increase in poor mood, concentration, and mood swings.  Sleep apnea can develop and decrease oxygen levels, which negatively affect all of the major organs. Read more here

If you’re trying to lose weight: 

Having excess amounts of weight puts stress on the lungs and heart, causing heavier and more shallow breathing.  This can put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea.  Another side effect of not sleeping enough is that your metabolism slows down and your hormone levels are disrupted.  The hormone imbalance associated with lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, which causes you to eat more. In a nutshell, insufficient sleep can make it difficult for you to lose weight.

Talk to your Health Advisor for more information about how your sleeping habits affect your weight, and vice-versa, and get tips for a better night’s sleep here. We’re here to help.

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