Here’s Why 6 Hours of Sleep Is As Damaging As No Sleep at All

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The sleep study, published in the journal Sleep, examined the consequences of allowing subjects to only get six hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight. While you may think six hours a night is pretty good (Don’t most of us run on six hours of Z’s?), researchers found that these subjects functioned as poorly as people who were forced to stay awake for two days straight.

Researchers also examined the performance of people who were allowed to sleep four or eight hours a night for two weeks and found that, naturally, those who slept eight hours performed best. People who got only four hours of sleep a night performed worse each day, and the group that got six hours of sleep did OK until around day 10 of the study, Fast Company says. Toward the end of the two-week period, the six-hour sleepers started performing as badly as the people who didn’t sleep at all.

Here’s what’s really interesting: The six-hour sleepers were basically in denial about their level of fatigue and thought they were still doing pretty well, Fast Company says. It makes sense — six hours seems like a pretty decent amount of shut-eye. But apparently, it’s time to put down the latte, turn off the smartphone and call it an early night.

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