Sacrificing sleep? Here's what it will do to your health

Story highlights

  • Sleep deprivation can make you sick or irritable and even kill you
  • Developing good habits can bring back a good night's rest
This feature is part of CNN Parallels, an interactive series exploring ways you can improve your health by making small changes to your daily habits.

(CNN)We are one groggy, cranky, sleep-deprived population.

Depending on our age, we are supposed to get between seven and 10 hours of sleep each night.
But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of us get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night. In addition, 50 million to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome, which can ruin a good night's shuteye.
    And we're not alone. In bedrooms around the globe, men, women and children are tossing and turning. According to World Sleep Day statistics, sleep deprivation is threatening the health of up to 45% of the world's population.

    Risking life and money

    Science has linked poor slumber with high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, weight gain, a lack of libido, mood swings, paranoia, depression and a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers.