Inadequate Sleep Increases Blood Pressure Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night can ruin your health and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Poor sleep patterns impair metabolic health, which promotes abdominal obesity, increased insulin levels, poor blood sugar metabolism, and abnormal blood fats. The combination of these health problems is called the Metabolic Syndrome. The Cardia Sleep Study, conducted by scientists from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, found that inadequate sleep increased the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure; greater than 140/90) by 37 percent. Warning signs included snoring and daytime sleepiness. Americans are getting less sleep because they are working more to make ends meet and worrying about economic problems. Getting enough sleep has a positive effect on your health and the risk of disease. High blood pressure is easily treated. See your doctor if you are having sleep problems.
Sleep Promotes Athletic Performance
Athletes get more colds and flu following intense athletic competitions or periods of heavy training. This is partly due to psychological stress and inadequate sleep, which increases the risk of upper respiratory illnesses. Athletes can improve performance and reduce the risk of illness by getting more sleep. A Stanford University study showed that tennis players who increased nightly sleep and made up for accumulated sleep deprivation showed improvement in sprint drill times, service accuracy, and hitting depth. Athletes improved by as much as 30 percent in some of the tests. The athletes attempted to sleep 10 hours per night. Sleep is a critical element for maximizing athletic performance.