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Lack of Sleep is Killing Us All. Wait, No, Hold On…

Edward Norton, sleepless in Fight Club

Normally the back and forth of “It’s going to kill us all!” and “No, it’s fantastic for us!” usually stays in the realm of caffeine, red meat and the films of Nicolas Cage. If there’s one thing that the consensus has seemed to be: well, you need more of it, otherwise you have no clue how screwed you are–it’s sleep.

Lack of sleep has been blamed for everything from diabetes to reality television, and that’s some finger-pointing that does make sense. If you’re tired, then you’re probably stressed. And if you’re stressed, then your body releases all those lovely “We Could Be Eaten By Something” chemicals…and too much of that can be quite bad. Especially if you’re not actually being Eaten By Something.

[ad#horiz-ad]So that’s why this article is so interesting. It contests the notion that sleep habits are getting worse as modern society tries to squeeze more and more life out of…well, life. Rather than things getting worse, things are pretty much as they’ve always been, at least as far as we know. (Sleep surveys don’t go back very far.) And the amount of people subsisting on a lower amount of sleep than normal has stayed about the same (furthering the theory that human evolution has stalled completely). The reason for the disparity between findings? The differing methods of surveying the participants and also the fact that humans can’t reliably self-report worth a damn.

Good news? Perhaps. Now if we can just figure out the best position to sleep in. Because that apparently could kill us too. Sigh.