Poor sleep damages your genes

You don't need to take part in a study to know how you feel when you miss out on sleep. You feel lousy: tired, cranky, and less alert -- and those feelings can last the whole day.

And if you think you feel bad on the outside, you should see what's going on with DNA damage on the inside.

More than 700 gene are also suffering when you're suffering from lack of  sleep, including some of the most important genes needed for replenishment, repair, and overall good health, according to a new study.

And it doesn't take long for that damage to take effect.

After just a single week of being limited to six hours of sleep a night or less, volunteers suffered DNA damage in 711 genes, with DNA samples showing changes linked to the circadian rhythm, immune system, stress, metabolism, inflammation, and more.

That's just the effect of a single week of lack of sleep. But for many people, six hours of sleep or less each night isn't a week long experiment. It's a way of life -- one that extends for weeks, months, or even years.

If that's your own way of life, consider this your wake-up call -- or, in this case, a call to get back to bed, because all that DNA damage can lead to serious long-term health risks, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and more.

There's no one-size-fits-all formula for the "right amount" of sleep. How much you need depends on you -- but as a rule of thumb, if you wake up feeling lousy, you probably fell a few winks short of 40.

For many people, the answer is as simple as turning off the distractions -- the TV, the computer, the iPad, the phone, the radio... all of it -- and getting into bed.

But some people can't seem to get the sleep they need no matter how hard they try. They toss and turn and -- in some cases -- they take sleep meds. But these drugs don't improve sleep quality, and come with plenty of risks of their own, including death.

I've found that sleep problems and sleep disorders are often due to either poor nutrition and/or hormonal imbalances. A holistic physician can run some tests and figure out what's keeping you up at night.

More importantly, he can help fix it naturally so you're finally getting the sleep you need.

For one common cause of lack of sleep, keep reading.