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People sleeping two hours less than in 1960s risking serious health problems
Cancer, heart disease and obesity are all linked to reduced sleep, researchers say, as they reveal we are sleeping between one and two hours less than people in the Sixties , according to the Daily telegraph.
People are sleeping between one and two hours less than in the 1960s due to the increased pressure of life and modern technology which makes it hard to switch off.
It is posing “serious health problems” as a lack of sleep raises the risk of cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infections and obesity, according to the researchers.
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They say that modern technology and a 24-hour society mean many people are now “living against” their body clocks, which is responsible for huge changes in the human body.
Living out of sync with the body’s rhythm can affect mood, physical strength, and the risk of a heart attack.
The researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester and Surrey universities warned the issue was affecting the whole of society, not just shift workers.
Prof Russell Foster, at the University of Oxford, told the BBC: “We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle.
“What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.”
Modern technology is one of the biggest causes of reduced sleep, evidence suggests, due to the high levels of light in the blue end of the spectrum emitted by computers and tablets. This type of light, which is also emitted by energy efficient light bulbs, is “right in the sweet spot” for disrupting the body clock.
“Light is the most powerful synchroniser of your internal biological clock,” Prof Charles Czeisler, from Harvard University, said.
“Light exposure, especially short wavelength blue-ish light in the evening, will reset our circadian rhythms to a later hour, postponing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and making it more difficult for us to get up in the morning.
“It’s a big concern that we’re being exposed to much more light, sleeping less and, as a consequence, may suffer from many chronic diseases.”
Prof Andrew Loudon, from the University of Manchester, urged governments to take the problem more seriously.
He said: “Governments need to take this seriously, starting perhaps with reviewing the health consequences of shift work, and society and legislators needs to take this on board.”
We now have evidence that sleep loss can lead to irreversible injury”
Prof Sigrid VeaseyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine