Sleep loss appears to be a serious problem; it’s taking a toll, WebMD reports, on our physical and emotional health. Here’s a small excerpt:

Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed and function optimally, says Hunt. “Obviously there’s some variation, some people intrinsically need more sleep than others. A few people skip by successfully long-term getting less sleep – but that’s a very small number.”

If you’re getting less sleep than your body needs, there can be serious consequences.

“There’s recent evidence showing — in men and women in several countries — that chronic sleep deprivation increases risk of early death,” Hunt tells WebMD. “Studies are showing that people who get less sleep are at greater risk for heart disease and heart attacks. And perhaps the hottest area of research has shown a link between chronic sleep deprivation and risk of overweight and obesity. These studies articulate the price society pays in not getting a good night’s sleep.”

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