SLEEP TIGHT; ..or This Is What Will Happen to You

Article excerpt

Byline: By Annie Brown

MORE than two thirds of people are not getting enough sleep every night according to a new study.

A third of those questioned by YouGov survived on only six hours or less, falling well short of the actual recommended eight hours of shut eye a night.

The over-45s suffered the most from sleep deprivation with only a quarter getting the recommended amount.

However, nearly half of 18 to 24 year-olds got plenty of sleep.

But just what effect can sleep or lack of it, have on us?

1 Lack of sleep in young people can raise the risk of diabetes, say some scientists.

They found losing just three consecutive nights of deep sleep harms the body's ability to control blood sugar levels.

American researchers disturbed the sleep of young volunteers and found they became less sensitive to insulin - the hormone that controls the way the body absorbs sugar.

The team found the guinea pigs needed more insulin to deal with the same amount of glucose.

2 A good night's sleep may not just leave you feeling refreshed - it may also help you lose weight. Researchers from Ohio's Case Western Reserve University, followed nearly 70,000 women for 16 years.

They found women who slept five or fewer hours a night were a third more likely to put on at least 33lbs (15kg) than sound sleepers during that time.

This could be because you mess up your digestive system when you don't sleep well. Also, when you're tired, you crave sugary foods.

3 NEW mothers who do not get enough sleep are less likely to get their figures back quickly.

An extra two hours a night can make a major difference, say the researchers, who suggest lack of sleep triggers hormonal changes which make women hungrier.

A study of 1,000 new mothers found that those who were sleeping for five hours or less when their babies were six months old were three times more likely to be carrying an extra 11 pounds at their baby's first birthday than mothers who got seven hours.

4 Studies also suggest that staying awake for 18 hours without sleep can be the same as drinking to the legal limit.

The researchers, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, warn that people who drive after being awake for that long increase the risk of having an accident.

Their study suggests that people who have less than six hours sleep each night may put themselves at "very serious risk".

Sleep deprivation plays a part in two out of three road accidents in the United States.

5 We really do need our beauty sleep. Because the skin is the body's largest organ, it depends on sleep to stay healthy and strong. …