By Dr. Sanjay Gupta (edited)
Many people think of sleep as a luxury or a necessary evil — as downtime that interferes with their ability to get more things done in a day. The reality is that a good night’s sleep is vital to our physical and mental well-being.
“Sleep deprivation is a really common problem,” according to neurologist Michael Howell, MD, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends seven or more hours of sleep a night for healthy adults. Less than six hours of sleep is considered inadequate, and there is no statement as to how much sleep may be too much.
Inadequate sleep affects us in ways that may surprise you. “Sleeping less than seven hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death,” according to the AASM and SRS.
“We have found that people with diabetes who also have worse sleep quality have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar than people with diabetes who report sleeping well,” says Kristen Knutson, PhD, assistant professor in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Chicago. “Short sleep and poor sleep quality are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.”