A major study (17 years, 10,000 participants) finds that a busy lifestyle in which sleep is sacrificed is directly linked to increased disease risk across the board but especially heart disease, even when accounting for other risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Perhaps most astounding – to me, anyway – is that fully 40% of Americans get less than five hours of sleep, on average, per night. Between work and the kids, my wife and I don’t always get the luxury of 7 or 8 hours, and I know it’s the same for many of you.
For decades, 8 hours was the standard recommendation from health experts, but it now appears that 7 is a healthy amount of sleep provided that the sleep is quality and this is a consistent pattern. A lot of us get by with 6, but the fact that a significant portion of Americans make due with fewer than 5 hours is incredible. In economic terms we have a multitude of considerations: soaring health care costs, reduced labor productivity, increased numbers of auto collisions. In social terms, this surely can’t be good for relationships and quality of life, though understandably that’s a tough one to quantify. In public health terms, however, the costs are shockingly severe. Heart disease is our number one killer. We tend to focus on diet and obesity as the major factors in CHD, but this study confirms that lack of adequate sleep – and I think we can reasonably include stress in this issue – has an enormous effect on your cardiovascular health by doubling the risk of heart disease.
Let me know your thoughts. How much sleep do you get on average? What are possible solutions? Do we need a shorter work day?
Sponsor note: This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.