5. Affects sugar metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk
Short sleep is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance — which is when your body cannot use the hormone insulin properly.
In fact, an analysis of 36 studies in over 1 million participants found that very short sleep of fewer than 5 hours and short sleep of fewer than 6 hours increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 48% and 18%, respectively.
It’s thought that sleep deprivation can cause physiological changes like decreased insulin sensitivity, increased inflammation, and hunger hormone changes, as well as behavioral changes like poor decision making and greater food intake — all of which increase diabetes risk.
Plus, sleep deprivation is associated with a higher risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. These factors also increase your risk of diabetes.
6. Poor sleep is linked to depression
Mental health concerns, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.
One study in 2,672 participants found that those with anxiety and depression were more likely to report poorer sleep scores than those without anxiety and depression.
In other studies, people with sleeping disorders like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also report higher rates of depression than those without.
If you have trouble with sleep and notice your mental health has worsened, it’s important to speak with your healthcare professional.
7. Supports a healthy immune system
Lack of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.
In one study, participants who slept fewer than 5 hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold compared than who slept more than 7 hours. Those who slept 5–6 hours were 4.24 times more likely.
Some data also suggests that proper sleep may improve your body’s antibody responses to influenza vaccines.
Recently, preliminary data shows that getting enough sleep before and after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination may improve vaccine efficacy. Still, more research is needed to better understand this possible connection.