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Sleep Deprivation and Your Cholesterol Levels


For some people, they find sleep to be a luxury. This is because they are constantly deprived of long and quality shuteye. Their reasons include work demands, depression, a snoring partner or insomnia. This in turn can leave a person to feel sluggish or irritable during the day. However, according to a study which was published in the journal Sleep in 2010, a link was traced between cholesterol levels and sleep deprivation.

According to Dr. Michael J. Trewy of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, “as many as 30% or more of U.S. adults are not getting enough sleep.” There is no pain associated with this problem, but it can create daytime symptoms like increased sleepiness during the day or headaches.

In order to be diagnosed correctly, the patient’s account is very important. Blood tests will not help point out the problem but the patient’s discussion of the symptoms will be able to assist the doctor in determining a sleeping disorder.

So how does your sleeping habit affect cholesterol levels?

A lot of studies show that the relationship between high lipid levels and sleep takes a U shaped curve. This means that consistently getting less than six hours of sleep every night can affect both triglyceride and cholesterol levels the same as getting more than eight hours of sleep.

In effect, this can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, respiratory diseases, heart disease and high blood pressure.

The effects of sleep and lipid levels vary for each gender. Studies showed that HDL (good cholesterol) and triglyceride levels were more affected in women compared to that in men. Data also showed that triglyceride levels increased by up to 30 mg/dl while HDL decreased to up to 6 mg/dl. But according to most studies, LDL levels in females were significantly affected by any sleeping pattern.

As for the males, those who are getting less than six hours of sleep showed an increase in their LDL levels of up to 9 mg/dL, while HDL and triglyceride levels did not show significant change.

In another research getting too much sleep, more than eight hours, or those getting very little are at a higher risk for developing risks for metabolic syndrome. This would include a myriad of signs and symptoms which would also include lowered HDL, raised triglyceride levels, and obesity among many others.

But there are also other contributing factors that are creating a link between the individual’s lipid levels and sleep. For example, those who are getting less than six hours of sleep every night tend to develop poor lifestyle, either skipping meals or binging, have higher stress levels on the job, has a high likelihood of smoking. All of those mentioned can increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels which also leads to a number of health problems.

Another reason that is also suspected to cause high cholesterol levels is that a lack of sleep can increase the production of hormones, ghrelin and leptin. These are responsible for an increase in appetite which can lead to obesity.

Experts are still saying that more studies are needed to establish a definitive link between the two. But with the amount of evidence that has been uncovered it is important to have appropriate amounts of sleeping hours because cholesterol problems that go out of hand can lead to serious consequences. Consult your doctor about this, and if sleeping is hard to establish you might want to take natural sleep supplements for insomnia. 

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