Two-thirds of adults in the developed world don’t get the World Health Organisation’s recommended eight hours’ sleep per night, according to Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, US.
Walker is the author of a new book, Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams (Allen Lane) which declares this “silent sleep-loss epidemic” to be the greatest public-health challenge facing the developed world in the 21st century.
“Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system; more than doubles your risk of cancer; disrupts blood-sugar levels, increasing your risk of diabetes; and increases the likelihood of blocked arteries, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke,” says Walker who is originally from Liverpool. His fascination with sleep took him from Nottingham University to Harvard and then to the University of California in Berkeley.
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