Do we need sleep?

Everyone's need for sleep is individual. Some people may require 7 hours of sleep whil eothers may require up to 9 hours of sleep. But all living creatures require sleep in some form for an individualized period of time.
Craig L. Schwimmer, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
YES! Sleep is a basic human need. If we don't meet our biologic need for sleep, we suffer in incalculable ways. Sleep deficit has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. From a public health perspective, sleep deprivation contributes to workplace and automobile accidents. Indeed, some 1500 sleep-related automobile fatalities per year occur in the US alone. Sleep is a necessity - not a luxury!

We may not know precisely why we do sleep, but we need it. All mammals sleep. In fact, according to, research has shown that a lab rat that would live three years under normal circumstances will die in about three weeks without sleep.

We know we have not had enough sleep if we feel sluggish, fuzzy-headed and lethargic. Long-term sleep deprivation is known to have so much impact on the human psyche that virtually every military uses it as a form of torture. Some studies show that going too long without sleep can make us feel a little drunk.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.