oa Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes in South Africa - Sleep : a serious contender for the prevention of obesity and non-communicable diseases : editorial

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1608-9677
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1009



There is a perception that time spent asleep is time wasted. Anecdotally one hears of people sleeping no more than 3-4 h per night with no apparent ill effects. As tempting as a short sleep regime sounds, we know that sleep is critical for survival. In 1983 Rechtschaffen and colleagues showed that rats developed pathology and died within 14 to 21 days of total sleep deprivation. Data accumulated over the past 40 years from prospective cohort studies indicate higher all-cause mortality rates among people who sleep either less than 6 h or more than 9 h per night. We also know that sleep loss affects neurobehavioural performance, metabolism and obesity, and psychological health.

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