Up to 70 million adults in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. But not getting enough sleep is no big deal right? Wrong. There are a number of serious health issues associated with lack of sleep.

Here are 5 major problems that can start with not getting enough shuteye.

Lowered Libido

If Valentine’s day is less steamy than it used to be, a lack of sleep may be the culprit. Sleep specialists have found that sleep-deprived people have lower sex drives than those who get enough shut-eye.

While a lack of energy and increased tension are likely causes, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicates a drop in hormones might also be to blame. The study found that men with irregular sleep patterns have much less testosterone than their well-rested peers.

Memory and Concentration Issues

Sleep is an essential cog in your body’s machine. During sleep, your brain forges new connections, aiding in short and long-term memory retention. So if you can’t remember where you put your keys, it might be down to the two hours sleep you squeezed in last night.

Concentration and the way you react to stimuli are also adversely affected by drowsiness. This can be a dangerous combination when it comes to certain activities.

Driving tired is as dangerous as driving drunk, having the same adverse effects on your reaction time and ability to focus on the road. An estimated 21% of fatal car accidents involve driver fatigue.

Mood Problems

It’s not just toddlers who get cranky when tired. Sleep deprivation and mood disorders like depression have long been linked.

Dealing with sleep issues along with mood problems can seem like an unbreakable cycle. You’re tired, which exacerbates your depression and you’re depressed so you have trouble sleeping. On the upside, when you’re treating one condition, you’re also treating the other.

An Increased Risk of Diabetes

Those with diabetes often suffer from associated sleep issues but there’s also evidence that sleep deprivation can lead to a pre-diabetic state.

Diabetes is a disease related to the body’s production and use of insulin. If the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or cells fail to properly use it, blood sugar levels will build up, eventually harming the kidneys, nerves, eyes, and heart.

The body’s reaction to lack of sleep resembles insulin resistance, which is a precursor to developing diabetes.

An Increased Risk of Heart Problems

The physical ramifications of getting too little sleep are becoming clearer over time. Studies now indicate that insomnia is a common comorbid condition in those who experience coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, or heart failure.

This correlation might be because tiredness activates the body’s stress system – increasing blood flow and tension. In cases where sleep apnea (read more here) is present, the blood oxygen levels can also be adversely affected as breathing is repeatedly cut off.

Sleep-Related Health Issues Are Serious Business

A good nights sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. These health issues are just a few of the problems that can crop up if you’re not getting enough quality rest. So sleep tight! Your body will thank you for it.

Looking for the right health care plan? Here’s everything you need to know.

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