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Newsweek: "The surprising toll of sleep deprivation"

June 23, 2010

Lawrence J. Epstein, MD, of Harvard Medical School reports that Americans are getting less sleep than they used to, and the discovered effects of sleep deprivation are mounting up. Recent studies have found that sleep duration among Americans is getting shorter, and the resulting sleep deprivation is linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sleep deprivation can affect hormone production causing changes in appetite leading to obesity, and children with short sleep duration are more likely to gain weight and risk developing diabetes as well.

Epstein also reports that even gradual, compounding sleep deprivation can impair cognitive abilities and reaction times comparable to the effects of getting no sleep for 48 hours, even though subjects report feeling only slight effects.

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