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CDC: Sleep Deprivation is Bad for Health

Update Date: Jun 23, 2014 10:47 AM EDT

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding people about the importance of getting good sleep every night. According to the agency, sleep deprivation can be detrimental for mental and physical health. American adults and children need to prioritize sleep.

New research revealed that 28 percent of American adults reported sleeping six hours or less per night, which is not ideal. The CDC's health experts reported that sleep deprivation could increase one's risk of many health conditions, which include obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and depression. On top of these conditions, sleep deprivation also increases risk of premature death, which can be caused by diseases or by vehicular accidents.

"[Sleep is] one of the components of a three-legged stool of wellness: nutrition, exercise and sleep," commented Safwan Badr, a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a sleep expert with Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University reported by USA Today. "The three are synergistic. It's hard to lose weight if you are sleep deprived. It's hard to eat healthy if you are sleep deprived. It is hard to exercise if you're tired."

Timothy Morgenthaler, a consultant at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, MN added, "One of the main hypotheses is that one primary function of sleep is to help eliminate metabolic waste products of the mental processes in your brain. Sleep clears those waste products out and replenishes the energy inside brain cells. When we don't get enough sleep, we actually injure brain cells. The research was done in mice, but I think there is very little doubt that our cognition suffers, and our brain does not function as well when we don't get enough sleep."

Ultimately, experts recommend adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Teens and children need even more hours of sleep per night. These experts stressed that people must add sleep onto their list of priorities. People with sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, should get proper treatment and care

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