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Crave Talk: Sleeping eight hours a night can kill

Scientists say gadget-induced 'junk sleep' is bad for you, but we say cobblers to this -- sleeping eight hours a night can actually kill!

Gadgets are depriving children of sleep, affecting their eating habits and turning them into fatties. So says a recent report by The Sleep Council, a generic body that aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep.

According to the report, a third of 12- to 16-year-olds questioned slept for between four and seven hours a night, instead of the recommended eight hours. The Sleep Council blames television, music, games consoles and other electronic equipment for the rise in 'junk sleep' -- a sleep "that is neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs".

But hold the phone! Most of us at Crave Towers have been living off little or no sleep since our teenage years. We've watched enough late-night TV to kill even the smartest of brain cells and played with gadgets damn-near intravenously since we were knee-high to a Commodore Pet. And look at us -- we're alright. See?!

We'll concede: young children should probably get more sleep, but grown-ups shouldn't worry -- too much sleep is probably quite bad for you. A 2002 study carried out by scientists at the University of California showed a clear association between long duration sleep and high mortality rates.

The study, which included more than a million participants, found people who sleep eight hours or more died younger. According to the research, a group sleeping eight hours were 12 per cent more likely to die within the six-year period covered by the study than those sleeping seven hours. Between 1982 and 1988, 5.1 per cent of long-sleeping women taking part and 9.4 per cent of the men had died. Six or seven hours' sleep was found to be the ideal amount. Daniel Kripke, a professor of psychiatry, said, "From a health standpoint there is no reason to sleep longer."

Take that, The Sleep Council! Staying up until 2am playing Counter-Strike, waking up bleary-eyed at 8am and turning up late to work can save your life! Probably. -Rory Reid