You are likely not the exception (DW#700)

Regardless of what we hear about other people needing sleep, sometimes we kid ourselves that we can get by with very little sleep (I have been doing exactly that for a long time. My recent foray into this subject is making me much more humble about my sleep needs . . .)

According to our favourite sleep expert, Mathew Walker, the odds that you or I fall into the group of people who can truly thrive on less sleep are incredibly low.

Here is how he puts it: "It is far, far more likely that you will be struck by lightning (the lifetime odds being 1 in 12,000) than being truly capable of surviving on insufficient sleep thanks to a rare gene." In other words, the chances of us trying to live optimally with sleep deprivation are essentially ZERO.

The consequences of chronically depriving ourselves of sleep while kidding ourselves that we don’t need it? Well, they are astonishingly devastating. Sleep deprivation dramatically increases the odds of getting everything – from mood disorders to cancer (and everything else we don’t want).

Walker puts it very strongly indeed: "This silent sleep loss epidemic is the greatest public health challenge we face in the twenty-first-century in developed nations. If we wish to avoid the suffocating effects of sleep neglect, the premature death it inflicts, and the sickening health it invites, a radical shift in our personal, cultural, professional, and societal appreciation of sleep must occur."

The weekend is here. For the sake of your health and wellbeing, please do get a good night’s sleep!

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