Trying to Make up a Sleep Deficit can be Dangerous

USA Today newspaper published a great article today on why sleeping poorly all week and then trying to catch up on the weekends can actually be dangerous…

Some studies show that almost 30% of Americans get less than six hours of sleep at night. The research indicates that the body’s daily circadian rhythm hides the effects of chronic sleep loss and gives such people a second wind between about 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., when the circadian rhythm is pushing them to be awake.

But then they fall off a cliff in terms of attention.

Staying up for 24 hours straight is bad enough, but the study shows that if you do that on top of having gotten less than six hours of sleep a night for two to three weeks, your reaction times and abilities are 10 times worse than they would have been just pulling an all-nighter, says Daniel Cohen, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study in Wednesday’s Science Translational Medicine journal.

That’s dangerous for public health because many critical positions are held by people who have to stay up long hours, including doctors, paramedics, police officers and truckers.

Click HERE to read the entire article on the USA Today site, as well as review a chat with Dr. Elizabeth Klerman from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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