The battle of the sexes has made its way into the bedroom in recent years, prompting even Arianna Huffington to weigh in on the debate over who needs more sleep. Though women hold the title in her opinion, relying more on sleep to exercise good judgement, creativity and to realize their full potential, experts say quality sleep is just as critical for men as well.
"As far as men go, the health aspects of sleep are quite important," says Joe Ojile, M.D., a pulmonary and sleep specialist in St. Louis and chairman of the National Sleep Foundation's education committee.
"In people who deprive themselves of sleep, we see increased infections," Ojile says. "There's a reduction in the ability of the cells that kill germs -- they're called killer cells -- and they don't work as well," he says. It's just one of the many consequences of not getting enough sleep that researchers have been able to hone in on over the years.
According to National Sleep Foundation's 2010 "Sleep In America" survey, African Americans reported the least amount of sleep on average, during both the work week and on weekends, than their white and Asian counterparts.
"There are people who believe that to be sleep deprived and to take away hours of sleep to do something else is a good thing, or it shows that you're really tough or macho, and in reality it's fraught with consequences," Ojile says.
Here, he explains some additional risk factors of not getting enough sleep and the impact they have on men in particular.