Can I get a "hell yeah" if you love the end of Daylight Savings Time with an intensity normally reserved for spouses and family members, just because it gives you the chance for an extra hour of sleep? If you're anything like me, you're almost as excited for getting to sleep in this Sunday as you are for Halloween, and for good reason: yet another study has shown that chronic sleep deprivation is terrible for you. And I have great news! If you're American, according to the Center for Disease Control, chances are you're already sleep deprived. (Honestly, any college student could have told you that one.)The study, conducted at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, looked at the effects of insufficient sleep over time for a variety of ages between eight and 80. For children, the results aren't exactly great; it leads to trouble focusing in school and might weaken their immune systems. Yikes. But for adults, the effects are greater because the lack of sleep accumulates over time. The study linked sleep deprivation to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and obesity. Does anyone else suddenly have the urge to take a nap despite literally just having their 2:00 p.m. coffee break?
This supports numerous other studies demonstrating the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation. Which reminds me — if you didn't agree that the end of Daylight Savings Time is the worst before, you might want to reconsider, because researchers have noticed a 25 percent rise in heart attacks following Daylight Savings Time, most likely due to the sleep lost when we set our clocks forward an hour.
However, if you're already sleep deprived, the answer isn't to sleep for 14 hours straight every night for the next six months; despite what you'd think, sleeping too much can be pretty bad for you too. The study recommends that teenagers get between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night, and for adults 7.5 hours of sleep is ideal. Even I can manage to get that much every once in a while, and my caffeine addiction is widely considered to be "borderline unhealthy." (In my opinion, these people are mere amateurs.)
So when we set the clocks back this weekend, maybe let yourself sleep in for once. Sleep is seriously important! Also, now you can tell your mom there's a scientific reason you liked naps in high school so much. You're welcome.
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