BAYTOWN — (October 12, 2016) — You already know lack of sleep can make you a morning grump, but did you know it could seriously harm your health? Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body, so catching some ZZZs should be a priority. 
Complicating matters for many is the fact that as the days grow shorter with the approach of winter, sleeping patterns can be thrown into disarray. Here are some of the ways that skimping on sleep can affect your overall health.

Your Heart
If you’re skimping on sleep, you could be raising your risk for heart disease. “People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, regardless of age, weight, whether they smoke or their exercise habits,” said Dr. Ruby Parveen, a sleep medicine specialist at Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital.
One study found that people who slept less than six hours per night were twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack than their better rested counterparts.

Your Brain

Trying to keep your memory sharp for years to come? Try getting plenty of sleep. Researchers found that brain events called sharp wave ripples, which happen mostly during our deepest sleep, are responsible for consolidating memory. In addition to forgetfulness, lack of sleep can also contribute to depression.
“Insomnia and depression feed on each other: sleep loss can worsen symptoms of depression and depression can make it tougher to fall asleep,” said Parveen.

Your Skin

We’re all familiar with the puffy eyes and sallow skin that come after pulling an all-nighter. While these symptoms dissipate after a good night’s rest, chronic sleep loss can actually lead to lackluster skin and fine lines, giving new meaning to the term “beauty sleep.”
“When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases cortisol, also known as the stress hormone,” said Parveen. “In excess, cortisol can cause the elasticity in your skin to break down.”

Your Waistline

If you’re waking up in the wee hours just to get in an extra hour of exercise, you may be fighting an uphill battle. Lack of sleep appears to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
And being exhausted all day doesn’t just make you hungry; it makes you crave high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods—the ones that make it even easier to pack on the pounds.
The Sleep Center at Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and conducts thorough sleep studies, including home sleep studies, to diagnose conditions that may be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest. To schedule an evaluation, call 281.428.2273.

About Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital

Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital has provided Baytown and East Houston with quality medical care since opening its doors in 1948. The hospital has grown throughout the years with the community, providing comprehensive care at all stages of life. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist San Jacinto provides some of the most advanced and innovative procedures while never losing focus on compassionate and patient-centered care.