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5 Reasons Why Men Need Beauty Sleep, Too

First Posted: 03/05/2012 7:35 pm EST Updated: 03/06/2012 5:49 pm EST

The battle of the sexes has made its way into the bedroom in recent years, prompting even Arianna Huffington to weigh in on the debate over who needs more sleep. Though women hold the title in her opinion, relying more on sleep to exercise good judgement, creativity and to realize their full potential, experts say quality sleep is just as critical for men as well.

"As far as men go, the health aspects of sleep are quite important," says Joe Ojile, M.D., a pulmonary and sleep specialist in St. Louis and chairman of the National Sleep Foundation's education committee.

"In people who deprive themselves of sleep, we see increased infections," Ojile says. "There's a reduction in the ability of the cells that kill germs -- they're called killer cells -- and they don't work as well," he says. It's just one of the many consequences of not getting enough sleep that researchers have been able to hone in on over the years.

According to National Sleep Foundation's 2010 "Sleep In America" survey, African Americans reported the least amount of sleep on average, during both the work week and on weekends, than their white and Asian counterparts.

"There are people who believe that to be sleep deprived and to take away hours of sleep to do something else is a good thing, or it shows that you're really tough or macho, and in reality it's fraught with consequences," Ojile says.

Here, he explains some additional risk factors of not getting enough sleep and the impact they have on men in particular.

Your Game Depends On It
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"If you don't sleep correctly, your ability to get fit is more challenging," Ojile says, explaining how adequate sleep works to enhance men's ability to have more efficient workouts.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical School have found that sleep deprivation can have a big impact on basic metabolism, with lack of sleep slowing glucose metabolism by as much as 30 to 40 percent.

In the study, levels of the stress hormone cortisol were also higher during sleep deprivation periods, which has been linked to memory impairment, age-related insulin resistance, and impaired recovery in athletes.

Ojile says he's seen adequate anecdotal evidence in his practice with coaches reporting a reduction in stress and strain injuries among athletes they train.

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Filed by Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson  |  Report Corrections