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How much sleep do humans really need?

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Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

At some time or another most people have trouble sleeping. The good news is that the majority of sufferers improve with little or no treatment. The bad news is that some people develop chronic sleep disorders. Studies have shown some evidence that if untreated this debilitating condition can lead to other health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and even stroke. In today's troubled economy it is no wonder that more and more San Diegans are having trouble falling or staying asleep.

For some insomnia suffers who do manage to fall asleep it is a nightly routine of waking up after only a few hours sleep. Home remedies like warm tea or milk offer little relief and some sleep aides can be addictive if taken frequently.

Lack of sleep can make simple tasks challenging and result in a poor quality of life. Chronic insomnia sufferers are more likely to have poor academic performance, job performance and are also subject to experience more social issues.

Just how much sleep is enough? Researchers are revisiting the theory that humans need a full eight hours of sleep to function properly. While poor sleep habits are becoming a growing concern within America. The balance between too much sleep and too little is yet to be determined.