Even Ben Franklin knew the virtues of a good night’s sleep: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Then again, Franklin also held some dubious viewpoints, including one that questioned the bald eagle as the choice for America’s national bird: “He is a Bird of bad moral character.”
It turns out Franklin was right on track with the former statement, if not the latter, as science backs him up. Sleep is as important as healthy eating and regular exercise on the path to wellness.
In a 1999 study by the University of Chicago, a group of healthy young adults was limited to just 4 hours of sleep per night for a week. This resulted in altered hormone levels for some test subjects: Glucose metabolism mirrored that of diabetics, and cortisol — which help the body use glucose and fat — levels matched those of a much older population.
A lack of sleep has been tied to obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea and other health issues. So we know it’s important, but how many hours of sleep do we need?