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Sleep derivation 'myths' dispelled


A report published this week in New Scientist by eminent sleep researcher Professor Jim Horne has moved to dispel some of the most common and enduring myths about sleep deprivation, including connections to conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Professor Horne, from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre, calls the claims that lack of sleep leads to medical conditions and that the pressures of today's society is at odds with good sleep "intellectually lazy", and cites a host of studies that have been taken out context to create ongoing 'myths' about sleep.

"The fact is that most adults get enough sleep, and our collective sleep debt, if it exists at all, has not worsened in recent times," said Prof. Horne. "Moreover, claims that sleep deprivation is contributing to obesity and diabetes have been overblown. My assertion is that the vast majority of people sleep perfectly adequately. That’s not to say that sleep deprivation doesn’t exist. But in general we’ve never had it so good."

"Just because we can easily sleep beyond our usual daily norm – the Saturday morning lie-in, the Sunday afternoon snooze – it doesn’t necessarily follow that we really need the extra sleep," added Prof. Horne. "Why shouldn’t we be able to sleep to excess, for indulgence? After all, we enthusiastically eat and drink well beyond our biological needs. Why shouldn’t it be the same for sleep?"

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