The longer you’re awake, the more a chemical called adenosine builds up, making you feel increasingly drowsy. If you don’t snooze, your brain will become less active, causing lapses in attention and focus.

The Brain’s Cortex
When you sleep, your brain clears out waste products like beta-amyloid proteins; get too little, and they start to increase—and may eventually clump together to form the hallmark plaques of Alzheimer’s. Chronic sleep problems may also lead to tau protein tangles, another telltale sign of dementia.

The more hours your eyes are open, the more likely you’ll suffer from dryness the next day.

Healthy adults who sleep five or fewer hours per night are 50 percent more likely to have stiffer blood vessels and arterial plaque buildup than people who get seven hours; those changes can increase their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Compared to the well-rested, sleep-deprived folks can appear to have droopier eyelids, swollen eyes, darker under-eye circles, paler skin, and downturned corners of the mouth, one study found, and are more likely to think of themselves as less attractive, less healthy, and sad.

Too little sleep can lead the brain to release hormones that impair muscle growth, inhibiting recovery after exercise or injury.

Not only does not getting enough good sleep potentially raise the risk for breast cancer, but sleep-deprived postmenopausal women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive later-stage tumors, one study found.

G.I. System
Prolonged disrupted sleep causes immune cells to secrete inflammatory substances that can exacerbate G.I. issues such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (Digestive conditions can also keep you up at night.)

For every hour under seven by which you cut your nightly sleep, you increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by 9 percent (sleeping over nine hours also boosts risk). As many as 10 to 40 percent of people with this metabolic condition develop kidney failure.

People who sleep fewer than six hours a night have a nearly 50 percent greater risk for benign tumors that are, in most cases, a precursor to colon cancer than those who log at least seven hours.

Immune System
When researchers measured healthy people’s sleep, then exposed them to a cold virus, those who got fewer than six hours a night were more than four times as likely to sniffle and sneeze than those who regularly slept seven hours or more.

Sleep loss is associated with weight gain and obesity. One possible reason: Higher-than-normal levels of appetite-raising chemicals in sleep-deprived people may make them likely to snack too much in the afternoon.

Getting fewer than five hours a night can result in fine lines, sagging, loss of plumpness, and dark spots. Skimping on sleep can also exacerbate disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, possibly because it increases inflammation, triggering flare- ups. Nighttime itchiness from these disorders can disrupt sleep, only compounding the problem.

Schedule a consult with Dr. Maria about ways to help with insomnia. She may want to look at cortisol levels, hormones and inflammatory markers. The health of the gut has an impact on how well we sleep.

Schedule your consult with Dr. Maria now at 813-964-0847.