A healthy amount of sleep is paramount to leading a healthy and productive lifestyle. Although chronic sleep loss is common in today's society, many people are unaware of the potential adverse health effects of habitual sleep restriction. Under strict experimental conditions, short-term restriction of sleep results in a variety of adverse physiologic effects, including hypertension, activation of the sympathetic nervous system, impairment of glucose control, and increased inflammation. A variety of epidemiologic studies have also suggested an association between self-reported sleep duration and long-term health. Individuals who report both an increased (>8 h/d) or reduced (<7 h/d) sleep duration are at modestly increased risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and developing symptomatic diabetes. Although the data are not definitive, these studies suggest that sleep should not be considered a luxury, but an important component of a healthful lifestyle.