We live in a social world that considers sleep a luxury.  A growing body of research indicates that we hold onto this attitude at our own peril.  Sunlight exposure and night-time darkness set our body’s internal clock; social demands and temptations set our social clock.  When the two are out of sync, particularly when sleep time is chronically insufficient, metabolic chaos ensues.  Even just getting a few hours per night less sleep than needed (e.g., 6 hours a night) is associated with obesity.  For example, a study published in 2011 found that healthy men and women who were experimentally restricted to four hours per night of sleep for six nights ate significantly more than others who had a full sleep.  Moreover, they consumed more calories from fat and did not compensate for it by using more calories in activity.

To read an article on this topic:  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/01/awakening.aspx

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