BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, you may be a bit tired the next day, but you may also be doing tremendous harm to your body.
The warning comes from leading sleep scientist Matthew Walker. The director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley said during an interview that the sleep-loss epidemic is literally making people sicker.
“No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation,” he says. “It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families.”
“We have stigmatized sleep with the label of laziness. We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is by proclaiming how little sleep we’re getting. It’s a badge of honor. When I give lectures, people will wait behind until there is no one around and then tell me quietly: ‘I seem to be one of those people who need eight or nine hours’ sleep.’ It’s embarrassing to say it in public.”
Walker and his group reportedly went through several studies which all found that sleeping less resulted in a shorter lifespan. According to one of the studies, adults over the age of 45 who slept less than six hours a night were 200 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to people who had close to eight hours of sleep. “People use alarms to wake up,” Walker added. “Why don’t we have a bedtime alarm to tell us we’ve got half an hour, that we should start cycling down?”