When you have enough sleep, cognitive and metabolic systems are humming smoothly but when you don’t have enough, you begin to accumulate a debt which some research shows has very negative repercussions. Below 7 hours a night puts you at much greater risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression and weight gain (Michaels, Jillian. Master Your Metabolism. 2009. Crown Publishers. p.190).

Even just one night without enough sleep can affect your mood and appetite, along with your ability to think clearly – like clearly enough to make healthy food choices.

When you don’t get enough sleep it causes your body to release more of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, while it decreases the hormone leptin (known for making you feel satiated or full). Blood sugar levels can rise and one Chicago study showed you can become more insulin-resistant, even if you aren’t overweight or diabetic.

During sleep, you release human growth hormone HGH which helps you burn stored fat!

Schedule eight hours of sleep for health and happiness. Better yet, have a consistent bedtime every night.

To learn in depth about many other risks and benefits of sleep, read: The Promise of Sleep by William C. Dement

Additional Reference:
Associated Press. “Irregular Sleep Tied to Obesity, Other Health Problems” USA Today, May 7, 2008.