The Truth About Sleep

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Our modern lifestyle, which glamorizes constant internet connectivity and round-the-clock activity, conspires to keep us awake far longer than is healthy
  • The standard recommendation for adults is to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Teenagers need around nine hours, while younger school-age children may need upward of 11 hours
  • Healthy sleep consists of five general stages, each stage lasting five to 15 minutes, with a complete cycle (light, deep and REM sleep) taking between 90 and 120 minutes. You cycle through these stages four to six times each night, and this cycling is tremendously important, from both a biological and psychological perspective
  • So far, 51 DNA markers that appear to influence sleep have been found, including markers for long and short sleep duration, morning and evening personalities, insomnia, and high or low sleep efficiency
  • Sleep deprivation has a number of concerning health ramifications, including the promotion of diabetes, excess weight, heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline, just to name a few

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