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December 2023
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Sleeplessness Linked To Even More Health Risks

Sleepy Lack of Sleep No Yawning Matter 

There are few things more natural to the human body—or any body for that matter—than sleep.  Researchers don’t know why we need it, or why some beings need more of it than others, all they know is the body craves it, just as much as food and water.  And according to research being done on the topic, a lack of sleep may be responsible for more accidents, more health concerns and more incidents of impaired functionality than previously believed.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have an entire lab dedicated to the science of sleep and some of their findings demonstrate just how important sleep is to our ability to recall things.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Matthew Walker, who serves as the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging lab at the University of California, talked about how one’s ability to remember the content of a conversation from just a few hours ago is actually better recalled the next day, after a good night’s sleep, than if someone were asked to recall the content of the conversation a few hours from now!

“Sleep, we’ve been finding, can enhance your memories, so that you’ll come back the next day even better than where you were the day before,” said Walker to 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl.

And if a poll conducted by The Sleep Foundation in late 2007 is any guide, we’re not improving ourselves much.  This is because despite the well-publicized eight hours of sleep recommended per night, most of us are getting nearly an hour and a half less than that—just 6 hours and 40 minutes to be specific!

Not only does a lack of sleep inhibit our ability to function at peak performance at school, at the gym or at the office, some suggest a lack of sleep may be responsible for some of the biggest environmental disasters in recent history:  like the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez in 1989. 

After doing some investigative digging, 60 Minutes confirmed that the Exxon Valdez was driven by a man who slept just four hours the night before he and the ship spilled approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters off the Alaskan coast in the early morning hours of March 24th.  This corroborates one of the findings made by the National Transportation Safety Board at the time, indicating fatigue may have played a role in the ship’s grounding.

Luckily, most of us aren’t commanding ships loaded with millions of gallons of crude oil or working the third shift security detail for the  $250,000,000 Hope Diamond.  But a lack of sleep doesn’t have to affect the world’s environment or the survival of a famous archaeological finding before it should be taken seriously.   Because as you might imagine, given the fact we’re all about health here, a lack of sleep affects our long-term health.  Research conducted out of the University of Chicago’s School of Medicine shows that after just six days of inadequate sleep time (i.e. four hours) can send blood sugar levels into a pre-diabetic state.  What’s more, the less you sleep, the more weight you’re likely to put on!  This is due to a decrease in leptin levels, which are hormones that regulate appetite.

Want more?  A lack of sleep is linked to a diminished sex drive, stroke and heart disease—the leading cause of death in America!

Yes, we’re all busy.  And yes, we all want to do as much as possible in the 24 hours granted us each day.  But the facts keep piling up that the less we sleep today, the less we’ll be able to do 24 hours from now, whether it’s due to diminished capacity (short-term) or adverse health effects (long-term).

Hit the sack early tonight—and make it a habit!

Related Posts

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  2. School Cafeterias Posing Health Risks to Children
  3. The health risks of Beta-Blockers to lower blood pressure outweigh the benefits…
  4. Risks of Vitamin B Deficiency
  5. Health Smarts, Strong Hearts: Study Shows Health Literacy Prolongs Life

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