Let’s get back to Basics : sleep deprivation’s role in chronic illness

I can recognize now that the very fundamental’s of basic health were not in place prior to my diagnoses two years ago. In my previous post I mentioned my poor eating habits and stress level but I’d like to explore just one component of this today which was sleep deprivation. Although there were many factors in my development of chronic illness this was definitely a key player- and the effects of this alone extended into EVERY other aspect of my life. Just to quickly summarize, because of the job I held at that time I worked long hours and brought work home, and would often stay up late. I typically worked on weekends as well. My mind was always shifting between work and my children while just trying to get through the day. Up late with only 5 to 6 hours of broken sleep became habitual. When awake I found myself fighting fatigue with multiple cups of coffee and a whatever readily available carb heavy foods I could grab . What I realize now is that I had entered into a vicious cycle … one that landed me in the world of diabetes, tired , foggy headed and anxious.

I am in very good company here friends . Lets look at some of the stats regarding sleep deprivation and its effect on health ….The American Sleep Association reports 50-70 million people have a sleep disorder with insomnia being the most common. Over past 100+yrs sleep hours have decreased dramatically : in 1900’s the norm was 9hours ; now < 6 is the average. So what is the optimum amount recommended? Well adults should be between 7-9 hours, Teenagers around 8- 10, Children (6ys-12ys) 9-12 hours. And why does this matter ? Because according to the National Institute of Health , 5 hours or < of sleep is linked to Obesity , Diabetes , Cardiovascular disease , hypertension, increased Anxiety / Depression, and even increase in alcohol use .

With 85% of all doctors visits in this country now related to chronic illness we need to pay way more attention at the very foundations of health… More and more sleep is devalued and its become something of a badge of honor to say how much work we accomplished,  with as little sleep as possible. It certainly has become the cultural norm ; in part I believe due to the amount of technology and global business of today’s world that makes us accessible 24 hours a day. Its time we get back to the basics.

In my next post I’ll delve into the illnesses I mentioned in greater detail , and explain what exactly happens to your body with sleep deprivation that prompts the onset of these diseases to occur.

2 thoughts on “Let’s get back to Basics : sleep deprivation’s role in chronic illness

  1. Padma Dyvine says:

    I am looking forward to your next post because I used to wear that badge too of “look how much I accomplish on so little sleep”. Not there anymore because I have changed my focus. I want all of my faculties to be as clear, sharp and focused as possible, which happens with adequate sleep. Another great benefit is my dreams have returned. Working with them adds more richness to my life.


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