In a new study, children who regularly got too little sleep had worse physical, emotional and social health than those who slept the average amount. [s]Reuters Health[/s] quotes lead author Christopher Magee as saying: ‘Sleep is important for a lot of reasons, and can influence health and well-being and cognitive functioning. The typical sleep pattern appeared to have the best outcomes as measured in this paper.’ But, said Magee of the [b]University of Wollongong[/b] in Australia, since this is a relatively new area of research, the researchers can’t say for sure that this pattern of sleep causes better health and wellbeing. Genetics do influence the regulation of sleep, but the results suggest that environmental and social factors, like household financial hardship, may play a role as well, he said.
Society has become ‘supremely arrogant’ in ignoring the importance of sleep, says scientists from [b]Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester[/b] and [b]Surrey Universities[/b], who warn cutting sleep is leading to ‘serious health problems’.
They say people and governments need to take the problem seriously. [s]BBC News[/s] reports that cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infections and obesity have all been linked to reduced sleep. Professor Russell Foster, at the [b]University of Oxford[/b], said people were getting between one and two hours less sleep a night than 60 years ago.