5 Health Issues that Arise from Sleep Deprivation

Higher anxiety levels

New research shows that sleep loss exaggerates anxiety and anticipation of impending emotional events. The study looked at brain scans of 18 healthy adults. The brain scans showed that sleep deprivation caused a amplification of anticipation in the amygdala, a part of the brain associated with negative or unpleasant experience.

Diabetes risk increases

A recent study found that people with irregular sleep patterns and people who are sleep deprived have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Researchers looked at 29 healthy volunteers over 29 days, and allowed the volunteers to sleep less and varied the bedtimes, similar to shift workers. They found that the irregular sleep patterns led to poorer glucose regulation and metabolism.

Unhealthy food choices

A study found that sleep deprivation impaired brain activity in the frontal lobe, which stops the higher brain functions that are important for making good food choices. Instead, the deeper brain structures that react to basic desire are being used. Researchers enrolled 23 healthy participants and looked at functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) scans after normal sleep and irregular sleep.

Stroke risk increases

A recent study found that consistently sleeping less than six hours a night significantly increases stroke risk among middle-age and older adults who are of a normal weight and at low risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Hypertension risk increases

A new study suggests that people with insomnia are at greater risk of developing hypertension. Researchers found that the cause was due to the number of times a person wakes at night, as well as the length of time it takes to transition from wakefulness to sleep. The longer it took participants to fall asleep and the more times they woke up during the night, the more severe the hypertension.

The HealthCentral Editorial Team
Meet Our Writer
The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.