Sleep deprivation is associated with a number of serious diseases, according to an expert.
Features of modern life such as long commutes, increased melding of work and personal time, electric lights, and too much time in front of televisions and computers contribute to sleep deprivation, defined as less than seven hours of sleep a night.
"No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation," Walker said. "It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families."
Despite the threat posed by sleep deprivation, it's not being taken seriously by politicians and employers, he said.