You deal with the fallout of not getting enough sleep  by feeling a little groggy every morning. But what you may not realize is the  domino effect at work here, and it’s much more dangerous than just feeling  tired. Increasingly, researchers tell us, it’s clear that “short sleeping” can  get us into plenty of trouble with our health.  Insufficient sleep  is linked not only to obesity—which brings its own set of health issues—but  also to a host of other maladies. Here’s a sampling of health  problems you might bring on by skimping on sleep.
Cardiovascular Disease
In a 2010 study published in the journal Sleep, researchers at the  West Virginia University School of Medicine reviewed data from 30,397 people who  had participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Study. They discovered  that those sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night were at increased risk of heart  disease. In particular, women under 60 who sleep 5 hours or fewer a night  have twice the risk for developing heart disease.

According to a study in the journal Diabetes in 2011, University of  Chicago and Northwestern University researchers found that when people with type  2 diabetes slept poorly at night, they had a 9 percent higher fasting glucose  level, a 30 percent higher fasting insulin level, and a 43 percent higher  insulin resistance level. Diabetics with insomnia fared even worse—their fasting  glucose levels were 23 percent higher, their fasting insulin levels were 48  percent higher, and their insulin resistance levels were 82 percent higher than  diabetics who didn’t have insomnia.

Breast Cancer
Researchers at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Sendai,  Japan, studied data from nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79, and learned that  those who slept fewer than 6 hours a night had a 62 percent higher risk for breast  cancer, while those who slept more than 9 hours a night had a 28 percent  lower risk.

Urinary Problems
In findings presented at the May 2011 meeting of the American Urological  Association, researchers at the New England Research Institute in Watertown, MA,  reviewed data from 4,145 middle-aged men and women and here’s what they  discovered: Five years of sleeping restlessly or too little (fewer than 5 hours  a night) can increase by 80 to 90 percent a woman’s risk of needing to wake at  night to urinate (nocturia) or of becoming incontinent.  A whopping 42 percent of the women classified themselves as restless sleepers,  compared with 34 percent of the men. The researchers theorize that sleeping  poorly causes inflammation, which in turn can lead to urinary  problems.

Colon Cancer
In a study of 1,240 people published in 2011, Case Western University  researchers found that those who slept fewer than 6 hours a night were 47  percent more likely to have colorectal polyps, which can become cancerous, than  people who clocked at least 7 hours of sleep.

A 10-year study of some 16,000 people by researchers at the University of  Copenhagen connected the dots between a lack of sleep and an increased risk of  mortality. It turns out that the men who reported sleeping badly, especially  those under 45, had twice the risk for death than men who reported sleeping  well. And men who had three or more sleep disturbances a night had a suicide  risk five times higher than men whose sleep was undisturbed. Though sleep  disturbances didn’t affect women’s mortality, both women and men who reported  sleep disturbances were more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.

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