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Getting by on less sleep is something of a badge of honor. I’ve heard people state and sometimes brag about the fact that they only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night. For all of those hardworking people who are holding down two jobs, or are single parents, a lack of sleep is just the price they pay for staying on top of things.

But that price may be much higher than we think. I watched a news story a few nights ago that showed part of a study where sleep was interrupted just enough to keep deep sleep from occurring, but not enough to actually wake someone. The results were not exactly what you would suspect. Sure they were tired when they woke up, but over the course of several days, physiological changes actually started to occur.

Then I ran across an article that covered the same study. In a nutshell it seems pretty apparent that a lack of quality sleep can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

In the show I watched it was amazing to see how, in six days time, a healthy 20 something guy’s eating habits changed and his body’s ability to regulate glucose levels. Admittedly this was someone who was deprived of all deep sleep for six days, but the same effect seems to occur over longer periods of built up deprivation.

Bottom line. From a life insurance perspective, all of these health issues impact rates and mortality. At the very least it seems we should collectively get over feeling guilty when we have the chance to go to bed early, or take a nap, and actually do it.