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Our Better Health

Some studies suggest that not sleeping enough is just as damaging to our health as smoking, and that getting less than six hours could lead to medical issues and — even worse — shave years off your life span.

“People often say you can sleep when you’re dead, and I say that’s true, but you’ll be dead a lot sooner if you don’t sleep right now,” said Lisa Metzer, a doctor and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health. “The science is quite clear that insufficient sleep leads to a significant impact on all aspects of functioning.” After all, research suggests that 24 hours without sleep is similar to being legally drunk.

The bad news: Fifty to seventy million Americans already suffer from sleep disorders. But the good news: We’re not necessarily damned if we don’t get a full eight hours.

Here’s what studies suggest about sleep — and…

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