If you’ve ever gone without sleep for an extended period, you will know it isn’t exactly a good idea. Even one night of broken sleep can cause problems the next day – and there can be few things worse than not getting enough shut-eye for weeks on end.
But while lack of sleep is undoubtedly bad for you, the jury’s out as to how bad. We know it can cause a litany of health problems, both on a short and long-term basis. What is harder to determine is – can it kill you?
Mercifully for insomniacs who don’t need another thing to worry about, the answer seems to be no. According to Professor John Groeger of Nottingham Trent University, deaths from sleep deprivation are likely to occur only indirectly.
“Nobody dies from lack of sleep alone, and I suspect nobody has,” he says. “However, being sleep-deprived increases absolutely every other risk we face. You are more likely to die when driving if sleep-deprived than not, and the risk of a small amount of alcohol when driving is far greater if you haven’t slept or slept well. Slips trips and falls are all more likely when lacking sleep, not to mention the stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, risk of suicide, etc.”
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