If you're not sleeping at night, it's high time you ask yourself why.
We all know how a lack of sleep can impair our ability to function, no matter how many extra cups of coffee we drink.
But two new studies show the problems of chronic sleeplessness can run far deeper, as insomniacs are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and have increased thoughts of suicide.
The first study, published in the journal Sleep, found a direct connection between a lack of sleep and an increased risk of hypertension.
The study on 1,741 men and women found that people who have insomnia for a year or more and who get less than five hours of sleep per night were five times more likely to have high blood pressure as people who slept more than six hours per night.
The same study also found that insomniacs who slept between five and six hours per night were 3.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure.
The second recent study on sleeplessness, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found a link between insomnia and increased suicidal thoughts and behavior.
The researchers found 7.9 percent of people who reported difficulty falling asleep had suicidal thoughts, 2.8 percent of them planned a suicide attempt and 1.8 percent actually tried to kill themselves.
That's as opposed to 1.6 percent, 0.3 percent and 0.2, percent, respectively, in folks who had no problems falling asleep.
What made the findings in this study especially disturbing is that these suicidal thoughts appeared to take place independent of any preexisting depression or anxiety.
So if you're not getting enough sleep, try to get at the cause. Chronic sleeplessness is never normal, and the longer it goes on, the greater risks you face.
I always suggest starting out with a 24-hour urine test to determine whether your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to function normally. You'd be surprised at how many problems can be corrected by simply giving yourself the nutrients your body lacks.
In other cases you'll need to dig deeper to find out what's keeping you up. It could be your diet, your lifestyle, or any number of other factors.
But get to the bottom of it – and then get some rest.