matthew walker

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Not getting enough sleep is almost a point of pride in our society. When you’re busy with your career/family/novel/Netflix binge watch, who has time to get those pesky eight hours? According to Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, we need to make the time.

Walker says that we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic,” with wide-ranging effects. Operating on short sleep—which is defined as anything less than seven hours—impairs brain and bodily functioning, and increases your risk for heart attack, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, weight gain, and stroke, compromises your immune system, and makes you emotionally irrational, less charismatic and more prone to lying. Not getting enough sleep may even mimic symptoms of ADHD. With just one night of only four or five hours of sleep, the cells that attack cancer cells drop by 70 percent. The World Health Organization has classed any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen. More than 20 large-scale epidemiological studies agree: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.

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