Renew Sleep Solutions :: Men’s Health Month: How Sleep Deprivation Can Mess with Your Health
Men's Health Month: How Sleep Deprivation Can Mess with Your Health
June is all about the guys. There’s Father’s Day just around the corner, and Men’s Health Week coming up. So, this month is a great time to take a moment and reflect on the lives and health of men.
Men face specific challenges when it comes to all aspects of health — they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick. In addition, mental health concerns often take a backseat to work and family obligations.
Unfortunately, there’s a fair amount of pressure on men to tough out any health concerns they may have. This can mean that if they do end up on the exam table, they’re likely to play down what’s really going on.
Convincing men to take physical and mental health ‘red flags’ seriously means leaping over a few hurdles thrown up by societal gender perceptions, and that goes double for sleep.
As a whole, we’re all more likely to write sleep off as something that’s nice to have, not something we need. Of course, the opposite is true. And guys? If you don’t get enough sleep often enough, it can mess with your body and head in some really serious ways.
Four Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Affect Men’s Health
1. Your body’s immune weakens.
This is true for everyone, but important for men to pay attention to.
There is plenty of research and documentation showing the production of cells responsible for fighting off bugs — T-cells — decreases when we skimp on sleep.
Furthermore, toss in the fact that the production of inflammatory cellular agents — cytokines — starts increasing even after just one night of poor sleep. Hence it’s easy to see how weeks of tossing and turning can mean more head colds, chest coughs, and sick days.
2. Chronic sleep deprivation means serious cardiovascular problems.
Sleep is serious business.
And when we don’t seriously try to get enough of it, we put ourselves at further risk for conditions like diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.
Again, that can be true for men and women, but men are at much higher risk for sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. The way these disorders impact heart and brain function can go on to put men at further risk for common killers like cardiovascular disease.
3. Men who sleep less often weigh more.
Hormones, how they work, and how we react to them are all aspects of the endocrine system.
Testosterone isn’t the only thing affected when we don’t have good sleep. But when it comes to men’s health, it is a pretty big red flag.
Having less of it means having a much harder time maintaining a healthy weight. These same metabolic risk factors can also contribute to being at higher risk for diabetes. Worst of all, the weight gain leads to sleep apnea, which can in turn lead to an even steeper drop in testosterone levels.
4. Insomnia has a startling link to cancers more likely to affect men.
We’re only just now beginning to scratch the surface of how sleep health impacts our cancer risk as a whole.
But we do know two disturbing things already.
The first is that men who do shift work without napping during the day are 43% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer later and are twice as likely to die as a result.
Another study, that followed over 400,000 American men over three decades, found that men who reported getting three to five hours of sleep consistently were over 50% more likely to die of prostate cancer when compared to men who reported getting seven hours or more each night.
If you care about men’s health for the men in your life, then you should also care about men’s sleep health. As we approach Father’s Day, not only should we celebrate all the awesome fathers in our families, but it’s also a perfect time to reflect on the health of the men we know and love!
Do you suspect the man in your life might have sleep apnea? Contact us here right away.