(USA Today) – We all know what it’s like to get a lousy or short night of sleep: Tempers shorten, snacks become more tempting, attention gets harder to sustain.

Researchers are just beginning to understand the long-term consequences of a lifetime of those rough mornings — and it doesn’t look good.

Poor sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Newer research has drawn connections between bad sleep and Alzheimer’s. A study released last year showed that the better 700 participants slept, the less likely they were to develop Alzheimer’s over the next 3.5 years.

Roughly 40% of American adults and 70% of teens say they don’t get enough sleep. America’s sleep problems are the focus of Sleepless in America, which will air Nov. 30 on the National Geographic Channel. It was produced by the channel in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and other groups that have expertise in the field.


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