Sleep Important To Long-Term Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sleep well, Iowa, and have a healthy tomorrow! That's the message from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) as many Iowans return to their normal non-holiday routine and get serious about their New Year's resolutions.

The advice comes on the heels of a study conducted by the University of Chicago that suggests a strong link between lack of good sleep and type 2 diabetes. In the study, researchers suppressed restorative slow-wave sleep in volunteer subjects, resulting in a 25 percent decrease in their insulin sensitivity.


"A good night's sleep gives you more energy, makes you more alert and even bolsters your memory," said Julie McMahon, director of the IDPH Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention. "We're now learning that getting the right amount of sleep each night also has many long-term health benefits. Iowans are known for being ambitious, but we shouldn't let that interfere with the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep."

In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 40 percent of American adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on weekdays. About 70 percent get less than eight hours of sleep per night.

Recent research has also shown that an appropriate amount of shut-eye can help prevent obesity and promote weight loss. According to Dr. Todd Burstain, co-chair of the Iowans Fit for Life Health Care Implementation Group, hormonal imbalances caused by sleep deprivation can be as important as calorie excess in the development of obesity. "Sleep deprivation and obesity is a vicious cycle," Burstain said.

A common sleep disorder known as sleep apnea, characterized by periodic gasping or snorting noises during sleep, has been found to increase one's risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Sleep is also important in reducing the risk for heart attack and stroke, since a lack of sleep can increase blood pressure and a production of stress hormones.