Not getting enough sleep can lead a wide range of health problems.
Along with medical problems including lower resistance to disease, fatigue, and problems at work, getting too much or too little sleep has also been linked to obesity, cardiovascular problems, being more accident-prone, and hypertension. The amount of healthy sleep you get can also predict overall mortality rate. In one study, regularly sleeping fewer than four hours or more than ten hours a night was linked to a reduced lifespan in adults. Interestingly, too much sleep can have a negative impact on overall health much like getting too little sleep does.
And this link isn't just limited to how much sleep people get as adults. As part of his reseaarch into gifted children, psychologist Lewis Terman first proposed in 1913 that getting an optimum amount of sleep can play a strong role in physical and mental efficiency. A century of research into the effect of sleep on health suggests that getting around seven hours of sleep a night is essential for good health. On the other hand, poor sleep patterns have been consistently linked to school problems in children and employment problems in adults.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.