THE sleep, along with food, water and breathing is a key biological pillar of human existence and its long-term deprivation is a major risk factor for a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and diabetes . Also, insufficient sleep increases appetite resulting in weight gain.

We sleep less than 7 hours

Over the past 50 years, the average sleep duration in the Western world has decreased by about two hours, and a large percentage of people now sleep less than seven hours, which is considered the minimum to avoid health problems from sleep deprivation.

If you combine all these health consequences it is easy to see why short sleep leads to a short life. The idea that we can cut sleep time to devote to other activities, whether work or leisure, is a very, very dangerous idea. Our well-being and many aspects of our social life are affected by a lack of adequate sleep.

Good sleep is also necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. The information necessary for the sequence of immune reactions is transferred to the body during sleep.

The afternoon nap

Not only the evening but also the afternoon nap contributes to health and should not be blamed. Recent research presented in the US by a Greek research team led by cardiologist, Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, of Asklepiios Voulas, showed that naps (with an average duration of almost 50 minutes) are likely to contribute to a person’s lower blood pressure and the avoidance of hypertension.

The researchers estimate that the habit of midday naps in Greece, combined with the healthy Mediterranean diet, contribute to a healthier cardiovascular “profile” of the population.