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What are the risks of not getting enough sleep?

Currently, insomnia is one of the most common disorders, especially due to irregular work schedules, night shifts, excessive screen time (especially at night), excessive caffeine intake, alcohol, and smoking, which are some of the habits that can lead to a dangerous level of insomnia for our health.

Here are some of the risks that not getting enough sleep can pose. Recognizing and reducing them will help your body recover and function at its best.

Weight gain: Due to the disruption of hormones involved in processes such as metabolism and appetite regulation, leptin levels, the hormone that makes us feel full, decrease while ghrelin levels, which stimulate the desire to consume high-fat and high-sugar foods, increase. Additionally, due to fatigue, we tend to avoid physical exercise.

Weakening of the immune system: "During sleep, the immune system is more active. Although it is still not fully understood how it works, its influence on strengthening and developing the body's defense system is being studied," explained Dr. Elmer Huerta, specialist in internal medicine, public health, and oncology, to AARP en español. "When a person doesn't sleep well, they are much more susceptible to viral infections; it has even been discovered that autoimmune diseases could be more frequent," he added.


Increases the risk of developing diabetes: More than 400 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. When we reduce the hours of sleep, less insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, is released, and the body cannot process glucose effectively. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, and that energy is not directed to the cells where it is needed, thus increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Vulnerability to depression and anxiety: Our mental health is affected by experiencing mood changes. All these alterations influence the release of substances such as cortisol, which inhibits and suppresses sleep, as well as prolactin or serotonin, which are related to the regulation of sleep cycles, mood states, or pain perception.


Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), there is a death every 40 seconds. "Heart attacks and strokes are frequently observed in patients with chronic sleep insufficiency. Cardiac arrhythmias (such as atrial fibrillation) have also been associated," explained Dr. Chris Winter, neurologist, sleep specialist, and author of The Sleep Solution.


Reduced sexual desire: Men who suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing stops and restarts repeatedly, have the lowest levels of testosterone. This, combined with insufficient rest, can decrease libido and sperm production, increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, and lead to disinterest in sex. In the case of women, it is associated with lower sexual desire and a reduction in genital arousal. Increasing the hours of sleep can increase libido by at least 14%.


It is important to take a moment to prioritize your health. If you identify with any of these cases, we recommend undergoing a medical check-up to initiate treatment and positive changes that will help you maintain good health.


If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, you can contact us at info@elan.com.gt.


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