As if insomniacs don’t have enough keeping them up. Now researchers say that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are 12 percent more likely to die early. This is because sleep deprivation can lead to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and other deadly maladies. The study, conducted with the Federico II University in Naples, looked at decade-long studies from around the world involving more than a million subjects and also claims that too many winks – more than 9 hours – can lead to premature death as well. Despite all of that, sleeping disorders remain an often-overlooked illness in America. Why is sleep so important? What’s the science behind the slumber? And what can be done about all the things that keep us tossing and turning through the night?
Dr. Alon Avidan, MD, MPH, Associate professor of Neurology at UCLA where he serves as Neurology Residency Program Director, Associate Director of the Sleep Disorders Program and Medical Director of the Neurology Clinic
Dr. Eve Van Cauter, Professor of Adult and Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Chicago
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