America is a high stress society in which most people don’t get enough sleep. We could be paying for it with our health.Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer. A seven year Finnish study of nearly 9000 people, led by Peppi Lyytikaine, found that people who developed sleep problems during the experiment gained more weight than those with normal sleep patterns. Trouble falling asleep, waking during the night, or trouble staying asleep increased the risk of weight gain by more than 50%. Night time snacking is common in overweight people with sleep disorders. The body produces powerful signaling chemicals during sleep deprivation that promote overeating. Chronically sleeping less than six hours per night is linked to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. (International Journal of Obesity, published online June 8, 2010)

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