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It’s surprising to hear how little sleep some people think they need to function. You may feel well rested, or rely on coffee to get you through, but sleepiness is not the only sign of not getting enough rest.  If you are a self-proclaimed night owl and routinely get less than seven hours of sleep, you may need to examine more deeply how lack of sleep is affecting you.

  1. Weight – Not sleeping enough leads to overeating. The hormones that control hunger become imbalanced due to lack of sleep. In fact, people who don’t get enough sleep eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories the next day, compared with those who sleep for eight hours.
  1. Risk for Diabetes – Lack of sleep causes your hormones to be out of whack and the net result is too much glucose in the bloodstream, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  1. Mood – After a full night’s rest, you feel happier and less irritable. Sleep can also aid those who are battling depression.
  1. Immune System – Getting plenty of rest strengthens your immune system to help you fight off colds and infections more easily.
  1. Heart Health – Your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease goes up after a period where you aren’t sleeping well.

If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about ruling out any possible sleep conditions. Also, make sleep a necessity – not a luxury. Go to bed earlier to ensure you get a good night’s rest routinely.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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