The Single Most Under-Appreciated Health Problem – Sleep!

Under Appreciated Sleep

The New Yorker magazine outlet published a series of sleep related articles which backs up what clinical sleep publications have been trumpeting for years: sleep matters to your health.

The recent article quotes Dr. Charles Czeisler, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, saying “What have we done with our dusk?” Dusk is getting pushed progressively later because of false light cues. People are surrounded by light on the short-wave, or “blue light,” spectrum—light which our circadian systems interpret as daylight. Blue light emanates from our computers, our televisions, our phones, and our e-readers; ninety per cent of Americans use electronic devices that emit it.

When we spend time with a blue-light-emitting device, we are, in essence, postponing the signal to our brain that tells it that it’s time to go to sleep. We are receiving a surge of energy rather than the intended melatonin release.

The article even poses the provocative question—What useful purpose does sleep even serve? For clinicians the answers are obvious. “People who don’t sleep gain weight. People who don’t sleep have immune problems as well as a whole slew of other problems. Sleep hygiene is important as members of the sleep industry are aware. As far as how many hours of sleep are needed each night, it’s pretty cut and dry. 95% of people need somewhere between 7 and 8 hours sleep. On average, women need 7 to 7.5 hours, while men need 7.5 to 8.

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Source: New Yorker Condé Nast publication

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