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5 Health Risks of Too Little Sleep

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Diabetes
A connection between sleep and diabetes? Who knew? Women getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep each night are one-third more likely to develop diabetes, say Harvard researchers who conducted a far-ranging 10-year sleep study of more than 70,000 women (Diabetes Care, Feb 2003). The reasons that sleep problems might be connected to diabetes isn’t clear, but researchers think that too little sleep may reduce levels of leptin, a hormone that tells us to stop eating. Essentially, sleep loss may cause you to want eat more than your body needs. After going without enough sleep for two nights, people in one study had more of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin and less of the appetite-suppressing leptin.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

149 comments

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7:14PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Thank you for the information.

11:35AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Thank you for the article.

10:43AM PDT on May 29, 2011

thanks

5:26PM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

Thank You!

9:57PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Thanks for the information...however, I think it is general. I also read that sleep requirement is different for different age groups. Perhaps more research needs to be done in this area.

8:48PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

good to know...thanks!

1:40PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

What if you would love to sleep more but society thinks that getting tons of stuff done is more important than keeping yourself healthy? I'd love to sleep more. I'm exhausted. But I'm an engineering student at an Ivy league university. Sometimes we just aren't given the option to sleep.

I feel like we may want to change society's perceptions on sleep and what should be expected of people, before we start trying to "scare" people into sleeping more.

On that note, colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes here I come!

6:15PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

thanks for sharing.

1:35PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Wow! I had know idea sleep was so serious to cancer.

8:48AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Some natural remedies that work, from my personal experience:
white noise machine or fan
Herbs such as Gaia Herbs Valerian and Sleep Formula, also Jarrow Stress Tame
Supplements such as L-Tryptophan, 5htp, and GABA (these helped me when the herbs alone weren't enough
Melatonin
Ginseng (during the day to prevent adrenal depletion)

If you're sleep problems are ongoing, don't wait, get help for yourself as it can become a vicious cycle condition if you don't. Have your neurotransmitters and/or hormones tested (NeuroScience is a reputable lab) as imbalances often play a major role. These imbalances can then be treated with the natural methods (especially the GABA, tryptophan, melatonin) mentioned above. If you're currently suffering, don't despair you can begin sleeping well again.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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