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Americans aren't getting enough sleep and it's killing us

In an opinion piece published in The Hill, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, discusses health risks that ensue from sleep deprivation.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Americans don’t respect sleep. As much as 40 percent of us say that we don’t sleep enough, according to Gallup. Perhaps we have too much to do or work more than one job, preventing a normal sleep routine. Whatever our reasons, sleep is often not a high priority. We shouldn’t take it so lightly: there is a growing mountain of compelling evidence that our casual disregard of healthy sleep is downright dangerous.

A meta-analysis published in the journal Sleep, found that too little sleep leads to an “unambiguous and consistent pattern of increased risk of dying.”

A recent study in the European Heart Journal — the latest to draw the connection between too little sleep and cardiovascular disease made news. Looking at data from 21 countries, researchers found that those who usually slept six or fewer hours increased their risk of death by stroke or heart failure by nearly 10 percent over a 7.8-year period. On the positive side, the study found that among those who under slept, daytime naps may compensate and mitigate these risks: more on naps to follow.

Read more in The Hill

Read more op-ed articles by Dr. Fielding