Think you can "get along fine" with only six or seven hours of sleep? Think again. According to an article published today on the New York Times Well Blog, more and more studies are showing that a lack of adequate sleep can affect multiple aspects of our health — and in more serious ways than we ever realized.
To make a long (and, honestly, anxiety-producing) story short, a lack of good-quality sleep can affect almost every part of our body and brain function, from our immune function to our heart and our mood. According to Dr. Michael J. Twety, "Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies" — so if you think you're being all superwoman-like multitasking until 1:30 am when you have to get up at 7, you best be reconsidering your schedule.
Especially scary for us women? The recent finding that skimping on sleep may be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. A Japanese study found that women who sleep less than six hours a night were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who slept longer — a risk that may be associated with lower levels of the sleep hormone melatonin. While it's possible to moderate melatonin levels via supplements, it seems to becoming more and more clear that there is no replacement for a solid eight hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep. It's more important than ever to take this aspect of our health seriously, so you can bet we're going to make a commitment to turning in earlier this week — FOMO be damned. (The New York Times)