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The Sleep You Need

How much sleep do you need? The exact number varies from person to person, but on average, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Why aren’t we getting enough sleep? For many people, it may be that sleep is just not a priority. They simply have too much to do and shunt sleep down to the bottom of the list. But lack of sleep can also stem from a treatable sleep disorder.

This means that not only are you likely to be irritable and forgetful, but you are also more likely to suffer from illness ranging from colds to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Accidents can also be traced to lack of sleep – both workplace accidents and car accidents. In fact, as many as 20% of car accidents are caused by people driving while tired. This translates to 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,500 fatalities each year, at a cost of $30 billion.

Historic examples of accidents related to severe sleep deprivation include the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Challenger shuttle explosion.