Health Spotlight: Sleep + Work - KMSP-TV

Health Spotlight: Sleep + Work

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Sleep: It makes sense that how we sleep affects our performance at work. Feeling tired from a restless night of sleep - or having a job that requires shift work - can leave us less alert and unable to focus.

However, recent research also suggests that our job-sleep lifestyle can affect our overall health. Many well-known leaders like General David Petraeus and Margaret Thatcher are famously said to sleep for only four hours a night. How easy is it to do a high-powered job on this amount of sleep? Is the four-hour measure something ordinary people should aspire to? In the world of business it is certainly something people strive for. High-profile chief executives often aspire to sleep as little as 3 to 4 hours a night. People use sleep (or lack thereof) as a benchmark of endurance, often jokingly referring to those who need much more.

Sleep takes up a third of our lives. But why do we need to sleep so much? What is the point? The effects of disrupted circadian rhythms – or the sleep-wake cycle – has been linked to everything from forgetfulness to obesity and heart disease. Some of the latest research highlights the importance of our 24-hour rhythms for health. Permanent night workers and rotating shift workers with Shift Work Disorder were reported to have more ulcers, sleep related accidents, absenteeism, neuroticism, depression and shorter sleep durations compared to those without SWD.

FOX 9's Heidi Collins talks to Conrad Iber, MD: Professor of Medicine, Sleep Medicine Director – UMMC, Medical Director, Fairview Health Services about what it really means to get a good night's sleep.

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