Are You a Restless Sleeper?

By Maria Masters, Men’s Health

Logging too little sleep might be a lot more dangerous than we suspected. In the past, we’ve reported that a lack of shut-eye can expand your waistline and dull your reaction times, but now, a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that restless nights can lead to far more serious problems. When a group of researchers tracked nearly 18,000 people for almost 20 years, they found a number of startling statistics, including:

Danger #1: Diabetes

The finding: Men who sleep restlessly are 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those who rest easier.

The reason: The study authors note that the deep, restorative kind of sleep—called slow-wave sleep—is important for regulating blood sugar levels. (Nighttime fantasies = healthy blood sugar.)

For more information about how you can get this quality R & R, read Sleep Like a Baby.

Danger #2: Death (by all causes)

The finding: Younger men who frequently wake up more than three times in the middle of the night are twice as likely to die an earlier death than those who sleep until morning. (The causes included cancer and cardiovascular disease, among others.)

The reason: Logging too little sleep has been linked in the past with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. According to the authors, these conditions could set the stage for more serious health problems down the road, particularly heart disease—the main killer in the study.

Discover the scientific and medical facts about sleep in this QA with sleep experts.

Danger #3: Suicide

The finding: People who typically wake up more than three times in the middle of the night are 5 times more likely to die of suicide than those who sleep until morning.

The reason: This was perhaps the most surprising finding in the study, and the researchers haven’t nailed down a definitive link between taking your own life and too little sleep. One likely reason is that a lack of shut-eye is possibly linked to depression, the scientists say. However, it’s not clear if the blues are keeping people awake at night or vice versa.

One thing is clear, however: A lack of sleep can ruin just about all areas of your health and life. But logging in 8 hours a night is easier said than done; there are plenty of things that stand against you and a good night’s sleep. Read 14 Barriers to Deep Sleep to overcome them all.

175 comments

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon3 years ago

Men only?

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

I have been having interupted sleep lately. I usually sleep solidly through the night. I don't know what has changed. I am waking up several times a night now, with little memory of doing so. Only a fleeting vague sense that I have and an overwhelming tiredness during the day.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Thanks.

Margie B.
Past Member 4 years ago

What about study on women?

I have arthritis & fibromyalgia and it is difficult for me to get into a comfortable position for sleep.
I move around a lot because I have pain and am constantly repositioning myself.
Therefore my sleep is usually light and interupted, leaving me tired during the day and pushing myself around to get things accomplished.
The changes in seasons are the worst time, like right now with fall upon us.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez4 years ago

thanks for sharing!!

Harshiita Sharma
Harshiita Sharma4 years ago

Great Article!!!! Thanks for sharing:)

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M.4 years ago

Was this study based solely on male patients?? Sleeplessness affects both genders to the best of my knowledge. Sometimes, worrying about not sleeping well gets buried deep in the sub-conscious, and voila, insomnia. Focus should be more on how to get a good nights sleep than all the bad things that sleeplessness can bring. A troubled or cluttered mind needs to calm down - there are ways to do this, nothing magical, just plain common sense.

Faith B.
Faith Billingham4 years ago

great article, thanks! :)

Rita White
Rita White4 years ago

thank you

Ryder W.
Past Member 4 years ago

great, i'm going to die.