Avoiding Metabolic Diseases with Sleep

Scientific research has shown that how much sleep we get is related to how predisposed we are to risks of various metabolic diseases.

Sleep - Image of a Koala bear sleeping in a tree

Recent research in Sweden concludes that losing a single night of sleep can alter the genes that control our body’s cellular biological clock. That affects our metabolism. It is particularly related to increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Sleep deprivation

  • Impairs judgment and cognitive function
  • Makes you more prone to depression (by many times)
  • Decreases libido
  • Ages your skin faster
  • Alters hunger hormones, causing cravings and keeping you from feeling satisfied even when you’ve had enough food
  • Lowers body temperature, resulting in a lower calorie requirement (so if you keep eating as much, you’ll gain weight)

The ancient practice of Ayurveda stresses a good night’s sleep and has specific recommendations for the best hours of repose for certain body types: the Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Chronic sleep deprivation leads to chronic diseases, such as:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Obesity

If chronic sleep deprivation leads to chronic stress and depression, then there is no disease you can rule out as a possible side effect.

For suggestions on how to improve your quality of sleep, please see the entry for Insomnia.


A study published in a neurology journal (JAMA) reports that there is an association between fragmented sleep and memory loss and dementia.  Those who had disrupted sleep cycles also had a buildup of amyloid plaque in their brains.  It is unclear which might be the cause and which might be the effect.

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