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13 Reasons Not To Skimp On Sleep

First Posted: 03/07/2012 8:32 am EST Updated: 03/07/2012 8:32 am EST

By Sarah Baldauf and Angela Haupt for U.S. News Health

It's National Sleep Awareness Week. Before hitting snooze on this news, consider that scheduling a good night's sleep could be one of the smartest health priorities you set.

It's not just daytime drowsiness you risk when shortchanging yourself on your seven to nine hours. (More than 35 percent of adults routinely clock less than seven hours per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.) Possible health consequences of getting too little or poor sleep can involve the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and nervous systems. In addition to letting life get in the way of good sleep, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder -- such as insomnia or sleep apnea -- that affects daily functioning and impinges on health. Here's a look at the research:

Less May Mean More
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Among people who sleep under seven hours a night, the fewer zzz's they get, the more obese they tend to be, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. This may relate to the discovery that insufficient sleep appears to tip hunger hormones out of whack. Leptin, which suppresses appetite, is lowered; ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, gets a boost.

More from U.S. News Health:
10 Ways to Get Better Sleep
11 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100
Popular but Dangerous: 3 Vitamins That Can Hurt You

For more on sleep, click here.

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Filed by Sarah Klein  |