In 2007 shift work was classified by The International Agency for Research on Cancer as a "Group 2A" carcinogen. If the above link wasn't enough and you crave the research, click here. Skip to page 31 for the information on shift work and its link to cancer.
If that's not enough you should know that in the journal SLEEP, from the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, found that a lack of sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity. If you are having a hard time shedding some weight, consider sleeping more.
It is impossible for me to flesh out all the ways sleep impacts your health. I have to recommend reading or listening to the books I have listed in the extra resources section above. Sleep is essential for your wellness programs. You have to make it a priority or it will catch up to you eventually.
Sleep is one to the greatest challenges that I continue to struggle with. I have always been up early and in bed late.
An average day in college I would wake up at 5am for swim practice, have classes all morning, labs in the afternoon, swim practice in the evening, lifeguard/resident assistant work at night, and finally study until 12 or 1am. I followed this schedule all four years. Looking back, I remember always being sick with a cold or a sinus infection. A combination of poor sleep and a bad diet made my stomach and GI system constantly nauseous and irritable.
"...there will be sleep enough in the grave" -Benjamin Franklin-
I realize now that Benjamin Franklin may have spoken more literally in the above quote then he realized. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9hr/night of sleep for adults. Are you getting enough? If you perpetually neglect your sleep, the grave is exactly where you will be spending all your time. (continued below)