It has become a badge of honor in our work-obsessed society to talk about how little sleep you need. A former boss of mine used to claim that he got by on fewer than four hours a night and his 2 a.m. emails seemed to confirm that claim. One of my current colleagues says she only sleeps a couple of hours at a time and wakes up in the middle of the night to read for a few hours before falling back to sleep again. She is well-read but…
As for me, as I have said before, I need my seven hours or I am a zombie. And despite the claims of my ex-boss and current colleague, science is on my side – especially as you get older. Sleep is just as important to good mental and physical health as eating well, exercising and learning to relax. Here are four reasons to pay more attention to whatever is keeping you from getting those all-important seven hours of rest:
- You'll lose weight. Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep have trouble losing weight.
- Your marriage will be better. Many midlife couple find themselves sleeping in separate bedrooms because of a common problem: one spouse's snoring. But there is a solution that will let you get a good night's sleep.
- You'll look better. Sleep-deprived people look less healthy and appear less attractive, according to a study by British researchers.
- You'll live longer. People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.