From Dr. Mercola:
The importance of sleep is widely ignored, especially in the US where working around the clock is still glorified. The cost is rarely considered, even though it actually includes reduced work productivity and an increased risk of serious accidents.
Tired drivers are as dangerous as drunk or drugged ones, and experts believe sleep deprivation may have played a role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Staten Island ferry crash, and the Three-Mile Island nuclear meltdown.
But it is FAR more than increasing your risk of accidents. You are decimating your health if you regular ignore and not honor your body’s need for about 8 hours of sleep to recharge and repair.
There are likely a few rare individuals that have genetic mutations that allow them to thrive on less sleep and this condition is called advanced phase sleep syndrome.
Only one in 10,000 have this rare gift that allows them to sleep a mere four hours per night and be completely rested. I know one personally, Dr. Michael Hollick, who is one of the leading pioneers and experts in vitamin D.
According to the 2013 International Bedroom Poll by the National Sleep Foundation,1 25 percent of Americans report having to cut down on sleep due to long workdays.
But even when long work hours aren’t an excuse, many fail to get enough rest. According to the featured documentary, “Sleepless in America,” 40 percent of Americans are sleep deprived. Many get less than five hours of sleep per night.
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that lack of sleep is a public health epidemic, noting that insufficient sleep has been linked to a wide variety of health problems.
Sleep Is Essential for Good Health
After reviewing more than 300 studies to ascertain how many hours of sleep most people need to maintain their health, an expert panel concluded that, as a general rule, most adults need right around eight hours per night.
Getting less than seven hours has been shown to raise your risk of weight gain, by increasing levels of appetite-inducing hormones.
Getting less than six hours of sleep leaves you cognitively impaired, which can have repercussions both at home, at work, and on the road. Even a single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
Over the long term, sleep deprivation has been linked to health effects such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s,2 and even cancer. In one study, women who got less than four hours of shut-eye per night doubled their risk of dying from heart disease.3
Poor sleep quality can be equally hazardous. As reported by CNN:4
“[G]etting bad sleep could be just as harmful as not getting enough sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea… can increase blood pressure… deprive the body of oxygen, cause irregular heartbeat, and make the blood more sticky, all of which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke…