Nearly half of all Americans have trouble sleeping.   A growing collection of research indicates that Americas sleep problems have reached epidemic proportions, and may be the country’s number one health problem. What most don’t know is that the lack of sleep is costing us immensely and ultimately killing us. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimates that sleep deprivation costs 150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity and several studies have shown that those who sleep fewer than six hours a night don’t live as long as those who sleep seven hours or more.  To improve our longevity, productivity and strengthen relationships with others around us, Americans must invest in getting more shut eye.

We all need sleep to survive and restore us on a daily basis, and if we don’t it can be detrimental to our health. Insufficient sleep is linked not only to obesity, but also to a host of other maladies.  To get a little taste of some of the health risks you might succumb to as a result of lack of sleep here is a compiled lists of the most common disease associated with the lack of 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.

Diabetes - 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.

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.

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 slept at least 7 hours of sleep.

Mortality - A 10-year study of some 16,000 people by researchers at the University of Copenhagen linked lack of sleep to 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.

The next time you think about taking another all-nighter think about some of these health problems you might bring on by skimping on sleep. Although many may brag about their ability to function on little to no sleep, it can be very dangerous.  To live longer, be more productive and ultimately be happier all around invest in more sleep.

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