Monday, October 10, 2005

Attention Women: Sleep is not a Luxury

Research on the relationship between sleep and health is growing quickly. Scientists have long known that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and chronic insomnia, can lead to serious health problems, and now there is data that support the claim that otherwise healthy people who do not get enough sleep, or have erratic sleep patterns, risk serious illness as a result. According to Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago: "Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body." Immune system dysfunction, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are now correlated with sleep deprivation. Adults between age 32-49 who sleep less are more likely to be obese; and it is not just that obese people are less likely to sleep, it is that people who sleep less in this age group are likely to become obese, according to the October issue of the journal Sleep, the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Chronic insomnia appears most frequently in women and male and female elders and women are twice as likely as men to have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Only recently has the medical community focused on women's sleep disorders.

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