A “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic” is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases, according to professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. In an interview with the Guardian, he warns that sleep deprivation is not being taken seriously enough by employers and everyday people alike — according to his research, there is a “powerful” link between a lack of sleep and cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other conditions. “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.”
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Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.”
Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/24/why-lack-of-sleep-health-worst-enemy-matthew-walker-why-we-sleep