That sleep has become an elusive luxury is entirely of our own making, reports Fortune.

Here’s a disconcerting fact: The developed world’s severe sleep deficiency is officially a public health epidemic, according to the World Health Organization. You may roll your eyes at the gospel of eight hours of shut-eye as a good, restorative night’s sleep, but if you’re like the majority of the world’s population and regularly clock six or fewer hours a night, your health is in jeopardy. Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and mood and mental disorders.

“Our lack of sleep is a slow form of self-euthanasia,” claims sleep scientist Matthew Walker, director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California at Berkeley, in his eye-opening book Why We Sleep.