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Sleep Disorders

March 21, 2014

Staying up late, getting up early, and using energy drinks to banish the fatigue could have major health consequences.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Getting serious about sleep. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

As symptoms go, sleepiness doesn’t get our attention the way acute pain or a racing heartbeat does. But neuropharmocologist Michael Twery, Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, says we should take sleepiness more seriously. New research shows that lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of disorders, from Alzheimer’s to heart disease.

TWERY:

Once the disease has taken hold, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t going to help you. But what researchers are pointing to is that getting a good night’s sleep could be part of maintaining our health as we age as long as possible.

HIRSHON:

He says the sleep/wakefulness cycle connects to our biochemistry in thousands of ways that researchers are just beginning to unravel. Using energy drinks and coffee to control our sleepiness today may set us up for much more serious health problems down the road. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.