• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Lack of sleep worsens health issues

November 19, 2018

Is society sleep-deprived? Adults need approximately seven hours of sleep a night, and many people aren't getting it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and sleep specialist, says not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your health.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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The CDC says one 1 of 3 adults doesn't get enough shut-eye.

"The body is not designed to tolerate long term months and months of not sleeping adequately."

Dr. Virend Somers says long-term sleep deprivation can cause issues, such as heart disease, obesity and depression. And it also can worsen health problems you already have.

"There are things that happen during sleep that carry over into the daytime and can have very dramatic effects on causing daytime disease, on worsening daytime disease, or on blunting the response to treatments that we have available."

For example, when you have obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep. Your oxygen levels go down and carbon dioxide levels go up.

Blood pressure rises and may stay higher into the next day. Dr. Somers says brief periods of occasional sleep loss are not a big deal.

"It’s the issues associated with a chronic, long-term, inadequate sleep ... that we need to worry about."

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