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Health Myth: I Don’t Need That Much Sleep

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

Come on, fess up. Are you guilty of trying to cram 26 hours of activity into a 24-hour day? An online Prevention magazine article cited a National Sleep Foundation poll showing that roughly 20 percent of Americans sleep less than 6 hours each night.

Do you think sleep is a luxury you can’t afford? Studies have shown that it’s actually something you can’t afford to not do. Sleep is your body’s way of recuperating and recovering from all you do to it throughout your waking hours. While you sleep, your body is busy focusing on repairing itself, fighting disease, and restoring itself as best it can.

The article reported on a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine that stated women who sleep less than 8 hours a night over a 10-year period are slightly more at risk for developing heart disease. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lower your body’s ability to burn fat and could also lead to depression and anxiety, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance could lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

If your schedule is so packed all the time that you can’t seem to schedule in 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, It may be time to reassess your commitments. You may want to try to decide what you can turn down so you can take better care of yourself.

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Prevention Magazine: 14 Worst Health Mistakes Even Smart Women Make
EmpowHER: Sleep Deprivation: It’s Enough to Make You Sick

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

Add a Comment1 Comments

I think this is very good advice!

I know that personally, I notice a variety of negative effects (including on my productivity) when I lose even small amounts of sleep. When I studied psychology in college, we learned that one of the first things to be negatively impacted by a loss of sleep is creativity.

Creativity manifests itself in a wide variety of ways, including ability to write eloquently, and also problem-solving ability. In my case, both these skills are integral in the work I've done in most jobs I've had. So, I literally cannot afford to lose any sleep! It may seem like I'm getting an extra hour or two of work by staying up late but those hours quickly vanish as my productivity falls off the following day.

Different people react differently to sleep loss, but I think that most people, especially those in American society, greatly underestimate the negative effects of sleep loss!

March 9, 2011 - 1:26pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.