By Dr. Mercola

The importance of sleep is widely ignored, especially in the US where working around the clock is still glorified. The cost is rarely considered, even though it actually includes reduced work productivity and an increased risk of serious accidents.

Tired drivers are as dangerous as drunk or drugged ones, and experts believe sleep deprivation may have played a role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Staten Island ferry crash, and the Three-Mile Island nuclear meltdown.

But it is FAR more than increasing your risk of accidents. You are decimating your health if you regular ignore and not honor your body’s need for about 8 hours of sleep to recharge and repair.

There are likely a few rare individuals that have genetic mutations that allow them to thrive on less sleep and this condition is called advanced phase sleep syndrome.

Only one in 10,000 have this rare gift that allows them to sleep a mere four hours per night and be completely rested. I know one personally, Dr. Michael Hollick, who is one of the leading pioneers and experts in vitamin D.

According to the 2013 International Bedroom Poll by the National Sleep Foundation,1 25 percent of Americans report having to cut down on sleep due to long workdays.

But even when long work hours aren’t an excuse, many fail to get enough rest. According to the featured documentary, “Sleepless in America,” 40 percent of Americans are sleep deprived. Many get less than five hours of sleep per night.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that lack of sleep is a public health epidemic, noting that insufficient sleep has been linked to a wide variety of health problems.

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