Nancy W. Burkhart, EdD

The Importance of Sleep and Your Health

The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep by Dr. Lawrence Epstein, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine writes that sleep deprivation and personal health is highly under rated but has incredible ramifications on our total health!

Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to cancer and heart disease along with a whole host of other health issues. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night but some of us, require even more.

Diet and exercise have been given a lot of attention, but sleep may be more important in renewing the body, reducing inflammation and allowing the body the ability to fight disease states. New CDC data suggests that people who do not obtain adequate amounts of sleep may not live as long as those who do get enough sleep through their lives.

It has been documented that less than 7 hours per night of sleep is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and all-cause mortality.

Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Cunningham TJ, Lu H, Croft JB. Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65place_Holder_For_Early_Release:137–141. DOI: