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If you’ve been living your life with the motto of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” well, get ready.
Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California-Berkeley Matthew Walker says that sleep deprivation is anything less than seven hours, and if you fall into that category, well, it’s not good. Along with increased chances of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health, human beings who don’t get good sleep are more likely to die sooner than those who are fortunate enough to own a Sleep Number mattress.
So just why aren’t people getting the recommended eight hours of sleep anymore? You guessed it: In developed countries like the United States, those looking to get at least eight hours of sleep each night are perceived as pussies by the fast-paced society.
“We have stigmatized sleep with the label of laziness,” Walker said. Here’s what else Walker said.
“We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is by proclaiming how little sleep we’re getting. It’s a badge of honor. When I give lectures, people will wait behind until there is no one around and then tell me quietly: ‘I seem to be one of those people who need eight or nine hours of sleep.’ It’s embarrassing to say it in public. They would rather wait 45 minutes for the confessional.
“They’re convinced that they’re abnormal, and why wouldn’t they be? We chastise people for sleeping what are, after all, only sufficient amounts. We think of them as slothful. No one would look at an infant baby asleep, and say ‘What a lazy baby!’ We know sleeping is non-negotiable for a baby. But that notion is quickly abandoned [as we grow up]. Humans are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason.”
And just for the record, the “number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment, expressed as a percent of the population and rounded to a whole number, is zero.” So yeah, I’m going to bed now.