You need a good night's sleep of at least seven hours — and anything less can be dangerous, brain researchers say.
The Washington Post reported a new line of research suggests poor sleep might increase the risk of Alzheimer's, another study found staying up all night pushes anxiety to clinical levels — and still another found even modest sleep reductions are linked to increased feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
"It used to be popular for people to say, 'I'll sleep when I'm dead.' The ironic thing is, not sleeping enough may get you there sooner," Daniel Buysse, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Post.
A growing number of scientists are even sounding the alarm that a lack of sleep is a public health crisis.
"We're competing against moneyed interests, with technology, and gaming and all that. It's so addictive and so hard to compete with," said Orfeu Buxton, a sleep researcher at Pennsylvania State University. "We've had this natural experiment with the Internet that swamped everything else."
Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep, the Post reported. But the actual number of hours adults get has been steadily decreasing. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a third of adults fail to get the recommended seven hours.
Sleep problems — long recognized as a symptom of psychiatric and neurological disorders — now is being researched for its role in disease, the Post reported.
"A lot of medical approaches have ignored sleep," said Ken Paller, a cognitive neuroscientist at Northwestern University. "People think about [poor sleep] as one of the complaints someone with depression or other disorders might have, rather than a critical part of the whole etiology of the disease, which is a new idea."