Dr. Mehmet Oz said you should never ignore insomnia because it could mean you have other serious health issues such as diabetes, depression or sleep apnea on the Aug. 12 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
"Lack of sleep could the first signal your body sends that something is wrong," said Dr. Oz.
Dr. Oz's guest was sleep expert Dr. Carol Ash, who said many people suffering from insomnia may not realize they have diabetes.
Dr. Ash said frequent urination at night could signal diabetes, and said to be on the lookout for hidden diabetes symptoms such as night sweats, chronic thirst, and frequent waking in the middle of the night to urinate.
If you have any these symptoms, Dr. Oz suggested getting yourself checked for diabetes. Dr. Ash said shift workers such as nurses and police officers are most at risk for diabetes-induced insomnia.
Insomnia May Signal Depression, Anxiety or Sleep Apnea
Dr. Oz said chronic insomnia could also be a warning sign of depression and anxiety. This is also something you should never ignore, as depression is a serious health condition that could have devastating consequences.
The world is reeling from the tragic suicide of actor Robin Williams, who hanged himself Aug. 11 at his California home, USA Today reported. In a statement, Williams' rep revealed Robin had suffered from severe depression, both recently and throughout his adult life.
Dr. Ash said symptoms of depression-induced insomnia include recurring bad dreams, extreme sensitivity to noise such as a ticking clock, and racing thoughts that keep you up at night.
Finally, a third reason for your insomnia could be sleep apnea, which is a potentially deadly sleep disorder characterized by irregular or shallow breathing.
While sleep apnea is often considered a men's health issue, Dr. Oz said many women suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. The symptoms include waking up with a racing heart, having a headache in the morning as soon as you wake up, and being able to fall asleep anywhere during the day. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of stroke, cancer and death, so don't ignore the symptoms.